Long ago there lived a great king with great wealth and great power. He had everything anyone could ever desire until, one sad day, his beloved wife died. The king set about the building of a majestic tomb, a memorial in her honor, and every day the king devoted himself to the task of making that building more and more glorious. He could think of nothing, day or night, except enhancing the already lavish design of his wife’s memorial.
Soon, however, it became evident to all his advisors and builders that the king’s focus had shifted. What had once been a tribute to his-much loved wife had become an end in itself. His closest friend spoke gently to him, pointing out the transformation, but the king would hear none of it and flew into a rage. As he turned to sweep out of the room, his foot caught on the corner of a large box in the center of the room and he tripped. Angrier still, he ordered his servants, “Get this box out of here!”
“Your Highness,” said the king’s trusted friend, “that box is your wife’s coffin.”
Isn’t it just that easy to lose your focus?
- The all important project you started with enthusiasm eventually loses its sparkle.
- You work hard to advance a cause, and one day realize the process has supplanted the goal.
- Your career began as a means of supporting your family but becomes the very thing that separates you from your family.
Ever since my children were babies, I’ve prayed specific scriptural prayer requests for my four sons. Now that they are all adults, it’s clear that I will never reach a point in my life when I can stop praying.
King David prayed for his son, too, knowing that God had big plans for young Solomon:
Give my son an uncluttered and focused heart so that he can obey what you command [and] live by your directions and counsel…”I Chronicles 29:19
Everything begins with the heart. We imagine that distraction is unique to our era, but centuries ago Augustine argued that in order for our hearts to be formed according to the Christ-life, followers would need to adopt practices and establish habits to set us apart from the broad path. We would require a way of life designed to aim our love and desire Godward. Whatever we love most will become evident by the way we spend our time, attention, and resources.
What’s the focus of your heart’s affection and your mind’s attention?
Have you identified the idols that clutter your heart and lead to disobedience?
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