No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. (2 Timothy 2:4)

Growing up on the farm was a great experience for me. I loved working outside. Raising and caring for animals taught me responsibly. Learning to manage crop rotations and build up topsoil taught me how to steward God’s creation. My mother and father taught me that hard work was a joy and the harvest was the reward.

I also learned to focus, or my energies were wasted and the days slipped away without accomplishing the most important tasks. If this happened, one could miss planting and harvest. Without the harvest, the animals starved and the farm failed.

We had a neighbor who struggled with this. He loved to hang out at the local grain mill to talk and argue about whatever the latest topic was. He could spend his whole morning doing this while his fields and cattle failed to thrive. Eventually, his farm failed. He didn’t prepare the soil, plant the seeds, tend to his crop and animals, and reap a harvest. He didn’t stay focused.

Paul pleads with Timothy, the pastor of the Church in Ephesus where Christians were dying at the hand of the government, and refugees were being treated as slaves, to stay focused on the teaching of the Word and the rising up of followers of Jesus. Paul knew that lasting change would only come because of spiritual restoration. The mentor tells the student, “focus on living like Jesus!”

The account in John 8 is the example that followers of Jesus must follow today. When Jesus saw a woman being threatened, He went and stood next to her. He inserted himself into her realty and life. He spent His energy on the personal solution and personally and physically embraced her.  Jesus stayed with her until the problem was solved and even gave her instructions for the future.  He didn’t stay at a distance, nor did he join a group making noise. He got close, and quietly and gently fixed the brokenness of the women’s heart.

Jesus stayed focused on solving the eternal dilemma of the soul because He knew, and knows, that if the soul is restored then the situation will change.

Jesus didn’t post, picket, or pout.  He focused on getting PERSONALLY involved with the one who needed an advocate and spent His time, energy and influence solving her need.

That’s what I want to do to every day. That is the focus that will bring a harvest of more and more people following Jesus, which will bring His Kingdom here to earth.

Will you join me?

-Pastor Jim

Christ Memorial Church