My typical Sunday morning routine includes a very early trip to the gym – to get in a quick cardio workout before church and to review my sermon. Though both are important, one usually gets most of my attention. The other just gets done.
This past Sunday I got the workout done, no problem. But I struggled to focus on my sermon which was, interestingly enough, about living with focus: saying “no” to things that pull us away from saying “yes” to more important things.
I’m usually pretty good at ignoring the TV monitor that’s attached to the elliptical machine I work out on. But if I look up I can easily be distracted by any of the 14 HDTV screens surrounding me. Especially when there’s an infomercial on, since I’m not allowed to watch them at home.
Now you’d think on Sunday mornings I would have all the incentive I need to stay focused on reviewing the message I’m going to be preaching in a few hours. After all, my livelihood is connected to good talks. I’m not paid to come up to the plate (or pulpit) and strike out. What I say on Sundays needs to connect with people’s lives on Mondays. I’ve got to give this task my best effort.
But on this particular morning, an infomercial came on about a really cool hose. The perfect hose. It’s called The Pocket Hose. It expands to be used and contracts to be stored. How cool is that! And right now we could really use a hose like that. Seriously!
Because of that infomercial I was having a hard time focusing on my message which was focused on living with focus. Which was actually a good object lesson for me. Every day we’re confronted with all kinds of stuff. Another something to do or see. And sometimes it’s really good stuff – like that Pocket Hose. But before you know it that stuff diverts our attention from what’s important, time is lost, opportunity is wasted.
This idea of learning to say “no” to things, in order to say “yes” to other things that are more important, won’t be easy to put into practice. But the benefits of working at it are huge. So today, think about what you’re focusing on. Are they the important things? Or just the latest Pocket Hose.
by Dave Gudgel
Check out the classic short booklet Tyranny of the Urgent by Charles Hummel. It’s insights are timely and immensely helpful.