Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Matter of Concentration - M. Laycock

In his wonderful devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers says - "Narrow all your interests until the attitude of mind and heart and body is concentration on Jesus Christ."

This makes me just a little bit uncomfortable. It makes me picture a doleful monk or severe nun, doing nothing but fasting and praying all day. I don't think that's what Oswald Chambers, or the Lord, intend. We are meant to live in this world, and live well. Living well means doing what Mr. Chambers says - have only one focus and that is to know and glorify Christ. Do that through all the other aspects and potential distractions of life, and you will live well indeed.

Easy to say. Not so easy to do. We don’t want to ‘narrow all our interests,’ we want to live life to its limit, experience it all. But often, when we’re out there ‘experiencing,’ we realize it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Often the things we’ve gotten ourselves wound up in don’t give us the satisfaction we thought they would. That's when it is all the more astounding to find that God has blessed anyway - blessed us, and others through us, even though we’ve been ignoring Him. His purposes are so far above ours, yet he invites us to be part of them in the midst of our foolishness.

This makes me think of the scene described in the Bible when John the Baptist points Jesus out to two men. They immediately scramble to follow him and when Jesus asks them what they want, they ask - "Rabbi, where are you staying?"

It’s hard to know exactly why they asked such a question, but I imagine they were surprised that Jesus spoke to them and were perhaps suddenly a bit tongue tied, as most of us would be if a celebrity we admire suddenly turned to us and asked us a question. I imagine Jesus smiled when he answered, "Come and see." (John 1:35-39)
It's a perfect example of God’s grace. Jesus doesn’t chide them for asking a silly question. He doesn’t ignore them or condescend. He extends an invitation. That’s exactly what happens to us, every day. We're scurrying around, concerned with all the unimportant things, madly trying to fill our lives up with unimportant pursuits, and Jesus turns to us, smiles, and invites us into His world, into His ministry, into His very home. He invites us to live well, with Him.

Then he opens all the doors for us, provides what we need, shows us the depth of His love and the joy we can have in His service. All we have to do is accept the invitation - go and see where Jesus lives. Once we have done that, “concentration on Jesus Christ,” focusing on worshiping and glorifying Him, becomes part of life, and life becomes a grand adventure.

Marcia Laycock writes from Alberta Canada. Visit her website to learn more about her writing/speaking/teaching ministry.

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Oswald Chambers -- what wisdom and insight: He, although dead (and of course, long gone to be with his Lord), "yet speaketh"!
Marcia, thank you for sharing your insights. I like your thought about the Lord not ignoring our "silly questions." What a relief, eh!

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