Our personal focus and life in the church

We were focused on a basement remodeling project hoping to finish one part that evening when a neighbor ran into the house saying that one of our children had been hurt. Our focus shifted completely since no piece of sheetrock was as important as seeing that our child was tended to.

We were enjoying a sunny winter afternoon of sledding when it became apparent that one of our children had veered off course and was headed for a lamp pole. A direct hit to the head, given the speed of the hill, would have been tragic. With every fiber of our being, our focus shifted again as everyone joined in screaming for the child to steer or bail!

Of course these are unusual experiences that, thankfully, occur very seldom. However, they cause me to wonder what grabs our personal focus and how that affects our lives within the church.

There some whose life-focus is a Porsche, top business position, Ann Taylor clothes, Armani suit or the latest technology. Some force their children to complete their own unfulfilled dreams of athletic prowess, academic strength or other distinctive achievement. Others focus on the fact that everyone should know that they are the ones who always need to be consulted on decisions because they are always right.

How can misdirected focuses like these affect the church? Some want only the best of everything within the church so that visitors will be impressed…not by the gospel but by how the building looks. Some force others to their standard of biblical depth while possibly forfeiting genuine love for Christ. Some must be consulted on every decision. Does a change in the carpet, sale of an unused item, or removal of the tree that was planted in Grandpa’s honor bring a misdirected concern? The color or style should have been different; the item should have been sold to someone else for a different price and some other way should have been found to improve the facility.

The early church struggled with disagreements too but this is not an excuse for us to do the same. Instead, it should be a warning for us to be prepared to guard against division. We must keep our life and church focus on the Lord rather than on earthly preferences! “I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree together, to end your divisions, and to be united by the same mind and purpose.” (I Corinthians 1:10) Let us not be like the person described here. “In his pride, the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” (Psalm 10:4) Rather, let us follow this model. “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2)

Helen McCormack and her husband, David, are members of Wycliffe Bible Translators serving from their home in Minot.