Focus: What counts
James 4:8 (NKJV) Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
I have drawn near to a lot of things in life, and they weren’t all holy. I have spent hours flipping through the pages of books and magazines in search of the latest details and inspiration on fashion, architecture, homemaking, crafts, and other things. I have had many varied interests, which I have scientifically pursued to the point of exhaustion…stimulating my brain until it was worn out on some particular topic that was fascinating to me…for a while.
I enjoy learning new things, but I’m getting less interested in chasing after information. I have lived long enough to see many things come and go. I’m beginning to understand more clearly the words found in the book of Ecclesiastes. King Solomon was the author, and he possessed a huge amount of wealth and wisdom.
Ecclesiastes 1:12-18 (NKJV) says, “I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised.
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind. What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be numbered.
I communed with my heart, saying, “Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who went before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge.
And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this is also grasping for the wind. For in much wisdom is much grief. And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.”
There are many interesting perspectives in Ecclesiastes. I used to think the book was kind of boring and on the negative side, but I don’t see it that way anymore. Now, I see it as ‘wisdom’.
What the book boils down to, is an overview of all of the pursuits of life. After each topic is surveyed by King Solomon, he says that it is vanity and like grasping for the wind.
Solomon’s main message in Ecclesiastes is that “It’s better to have a handful with quietness, than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind.”
In the final chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon sums it all up in verses 13-14. ”Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
What is it you’re searching for? What do you hope to have happen? What are you waiting for? What keeps your attention day in and day out?
Are the things you search for, hope for, wait for, and absorb yourself with, leading you closer to Christ? As you do whatever you do in the course of a day, are you in communion with the Lord as you do it? Does He walk with you and talk with you?
I’m finding that I’m less and less interested in things that don’t have anything to do with God. I can do some projects that may not be of a spiritual nature, if I am drawing my strength and guidance from the Lord as I work at them.
The biggest task I face at this point in my life is ‘simplifying’. Like King Solomon, only on a much smaller scale, I have acquired a lot of stuff and spent a lot of time learning about many things, only to be reminded that the one thing that really matters in this life is what we did for Christ and whether we came to know Him as a Savior and Friend.
The message Jesus spoke about in Mark chapter eight, keeps going through my mind: “For what will it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”
Declaration: I will find new strength by living a simple life that is focused on Christ. I will stop spending time and effort on things that don’t have anything to do with God.
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