Distractions are a part of life. They always have been. We may choose to believe that the complexities and pace of life in modern times are without parallel in history, but even in the simplest and slowest-paced age people have faced distractions that endeavor to hinder the achievement of goals and objectives.

Multitasking is great for some things, but the important things in life call for a singleness of purpose. The capability to focus on a goal and eliminate or ignore distractions is needed to achieve large tasks. However, identifying and selecting a worthy goal is a prerequisite to success. If you do not know where you want to go, how will you know that you have arrived?

David’s One Thing

By the time David wrote Psalm 27, he was already a success in life. He had experienced victory. Although he was tested many times, he was at a place where he could have whatever he desired.

Against a backdrop of success and triumph, some might find his request in verse 4 a little perplexing.One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.”

David was in a position where he could have it all. Perhaps he already did have it all, but he came to the realization that nothing that he had achieved brought real fulfillment or satisfaction. In this Psalm, David has already expressed confidence and trust in God, but he has an objective to enter and stay in the presence of the Lord.

Unlike so many of us who seemingly have an endless list of requests and desires, David focuses on one thing. Remember that the language here is poetical and that David did not neglect his responsibilities as King, father, or husband and we know that he was always praying, petitioning, or pleading his case before God, but he declares his highest aspiration is to dwell in the presence of God.

Finding Your One Thing

The world is full of people who never seem to find what they’re looking for even though they experience many things. There is a scene in the movie “City Slickers” (1991) where Curly, the hard-core cowboy, and Mitch, the greenhorn city slicker (played respectively by actors Jack Palance and Billy Crystal), are riding along a trail engaged in a conversation about love, life choices and other matters. This was the culmination of their exchange:

Curly turns to Mitch and says, “Do you know what the secret of life is?” Mitch replies, “No, what?” Curly holds up his index finger and says, “This!” Mitch says, “Your finger?”

Using, shall we say, somewhat colorful language, Curly goes on to explain that he means that one thing matters in life. Mitch says, “That’s great, but what’s the one thing?” Curly responds, “That’s what you gotta figure out.

You Were Created for One Thing

Sadly, most people never figure it out. Paul reminded the Ephesians of what life was like before they were brought into Christ: “Remember that in the past you were without Christ. You were not citizens of Israel, and you had no part in the agreements with the promise that God made to his people. You had no hope, and you did not know God.” Ephesians 2:12 (NCV)

What a terrible thing to go through life and never come to the realization of why you were created, and more importantly, who you were created to be. It is no wonder that there are so many people who are restless, discontent, and unfulfilled. The Rolling Stones chart-topping song of 1965 admitted “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Apart from God, there is no lasting satisfaction.

When you make seeking God your number one priority, you will encounter those who will accuse you of shirking your responsibilities. Or being “so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good.” Those whose highest passion and desire is not for God have little appreciation or understanding for those who desire God above everything else.

Focus

When Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, clinging to his every word, an embittered Martha was resentful over having to perform all the preparations herself. It was not as though the task Martha was doing was unimportant or irrelevant under ordinary circumstances, but when Jesus is present the circumstances are not ordinary. “There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42 (NLT)

There is nothing inherently wrong with having a diversity of interests and pursuits. However, we must not lose sight of the real goal which is Jesus Christ and our relationship with him. As long as we are in this life, there can be no greater objective. Paul put it this way, “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:13–14 (NLT)

It was said that Ted Williams’ focus during a game was so intense that as he was standing at the plate, he was able to see the stitches on the ball as it was released and determine what kind of pitch was coming. Oh, that we as Christians would be so intently focused on the heavenly prize that we would be able to block out all other distractions and concentrate on the One Thing. “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1b-2a (NIV)

What is your one thing?

Steve Ekeroth

 

Photo by Alan Ferreira from Pexels

1 Comment

  1. Rev Jan Michael Nace on May 12, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    If I were to go by Scripture my one thing is to know Christ (meaning personally and theologically). If I were to answer outside Scripture I would say the one thing is to know the will of God unmistakably and fulfil it.

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