The story is told about young Danny who was helping his grandfather with his garden. It was fun being there with “Pops” because the two of them
had become very close. Danny’s job was to till the ground using a big wheel implement that had a plow head on it. He pushes the implement along
and makes a trench so Pops can come along behind him and drop seeds in to it; then they would cover the seeds with dirt. Danny finished a couple
of rows and looked back to see how they looked only to discover they were crooked. He knew Pops wanted his rows to be really straight and so he
had to re-do the rows. What happened? Why were the rows crooked? The rows were crooked because Danny failed to stay focused on what he was
doing. From time to time he would look away at something that would catch his attention, like birds or rabbits or whatever, and when he did, his arms
veered slightly one way or the other and that made the implement veer off course. Danny’s problem with staying focused is a lesson from which we
Jesus teaches us in the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3-9) that one of the reasons why the Word of God is not fully effective for some people is
because of this same reason Danny had with his plowing. In verse 7 of this chapter Jesus says, “And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang
up and choked them [the seeds].” Later in this chapter Jesus explains to His disciples the real meanings to the various parts to the parable. He
explains that the thorns in the story are actually the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches. Can you see that these are really distractions
that tend to turn our heads, as it were, and it is then we veer off course? The “rows” of our life then become crooked and unsuitable.
From this simple lesson we see how important it is to stay focused on what we are doing. This is true in most aspects of life but it is certainly true
when it comes to our spiritual lives. We live in a hectic world to say the least. Many things pull on us from all sides, vying for our attention - jobs,
family, yard work, housework, recreation, community services, kids activities, church activities, etc, etc, etc. We find that our days get filled up fast
and before we realize it is time to fall into bed exhausted. And just before we fall off to sleep we realize we have spent little if any time with Jesus
and have had no spiritual food from the Word to sustain us.
Spiritual well-being only happens on purpose. Just because we are born again and have Christ living in us does not automatically usher us into the
abundant life (John 10:10) where the Word is strong and fruitful in us and through us. The “good ground” (verse 23) is the one who hears the Word
and understands it and bears much fruit because of it. This implies first of all that he has taken the time to hear the Word and has invested the effort
to study it thoroughly and to really understand what God is saying to him through the Word. This takes time and lots of effort; it takes focus – focus
on that which is really important.
Take control of your life. That is how you stay focused on the things of God each day. Block out your own “My Time With God” on your daily schedule
and allow nothing to deter you from being right there at the appointed time to enjoy the rich fellowship with God and feed on His Word. This is the
secret place Psalm 91 refers to. This is where your life is set in order and the glorious benefits of your covenant with God are established. It won’t
take long before the “rows” of your life are straight and true.
Develop and practice “walking by the Spirit.” You cannot remain in your prayer closet all day long, but you must have God working in your life
moment by moment; therefore, you develop your spiritual life to entwine with your natural life. Driving your car is an opportunity to pray, to worship,
or to be fed by teachings from anointed servants of God. Coffee breaks become Holy Spirit encounters in which He enriches your life and enhances
your day. You learn to pray in the Spirit while you do mundane-type jobs around the house that require little mental effort. Shower time is a great
opportunity to offer to God an offering of thanksgiving and praise for all He is doing for you. Even the blessing of your food before meals becomes a
rich experience with God rather than just a religious formality. The great thing is God is right there with you by His Spirit 24/7 and He is always ready
and willing to engage with you and enhance your life. Stay focused and enjoy all God has for you!
|Stay Focused, Brother
By Bishop Randy Barnett