By David A. Sargent
Mark Roberts once shared a phenomenon that he witnessed while on a trip with his family:
Years ago, my family and I visited Sequoia National Park in California. The highlight of this trip was seeing the Giant Sequoia redwoods, after which the park is named. These trees are awe-inspiring, both for their beauty and their size. The largest redwood in the national park is the General Sherman tree, which towers above the forest at 275 feet in height. It is also 25 feet in diameter, with an estimated age over 2500 years.
As my family and I ambled among the giant redwoods, drinking in their exceptional elegance, I noticed a teenaged boy walking along with his family. His eyes were transfixed, not by the trees, but rather by his Game Boy device. (Today, it would be his smartphone.) He was engaged in some sort of video game that demanded his full attention.
I was both fascinated and distressed by this boy’s apparent unawareness of the extraordinary beauty all around him, so I continued to look his way every now and then throughout our tour of the big trees. Sure enough, as near as I could tell, he never once lifted his eyes to gaze upon some of the most beautiful and astounding of God’s creations.*
T.S. Eliot was correct when he stated that we are a people “distracted by distraction.” Distractions can cause us to miss out on beautiful scenes and important matters. Distraction can also lead to tragedy – just ask those who have been involved in car accidents because they were looking at their phones.
There are many things in the world that can distract us from those things that are beautiful and important. Just watch the news. Big things, little things. Global impacts, local events. Myriad are the things which can capture our attention.
In a world full of distractions, God calls us to look to and follow His Son: “Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NASB).
There are many things – even many important things – upon which we can focus our attention today. But there should be one main focus: Jesus. Why? Because only Jesus provides the abundant life now and eternal life to come (John 3:16; 10:10).
God will save and give eternal life to those who focus on Jesus by placing their faith and trust in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turning from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and by being baptized (immersed) into Him for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). Then, those that continue to focus on Jesus by following His Word are continually cleansed from sin by His blood (1 John 1:7-9).
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace
-- Helen H. Lemmel
Don’t get distracted. Fix your eyes on Jesus and follow Him. You will be blessed eternally.
- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood
in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled
"Living Water." To learn more about this excellent resource
contact David via their website: http://www.creekwoodcc.org
* From Mark D. Roberts, Life for Leaders, a Devotional Resource of the DePree Leadership Center at Fuller Theological Seminary as quoted in www.thepastorsworkshop.com