Focus Stealers

September 28, 2015
by Martin Wiles

Matthew 14:30 – But when [Peter] saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. "Save me, Lord!" he shouted. (NLT)

I've been known to miss what I focus on — even when it's a large target. I had always hunted deer with dogs and a shotgun: I would stand on the side of the road or the edge of the woods and wait for the dogs to run the deer to me … and then shoot. Then, I moved near a friend who liked to still hunt: climb a tree, sit in a stand, and chance that the deer might actually walk past where I was sitting. For this, a rifle worked better. After purchasing one at a local retail store, I set out for my first adventure. About dusk, a herd of deer walked out of the woods about 200 yards from me. I carefully raised my rife, zeroed in on a buck, and squeezed the trigger. The rifle fired; the deer didn't move. Strange, I thought. When this had happened twice, I figured that I should check my scope. Sure enough, the rifle was shooting about 20 feet above where I was aiming.

For Peter, it wasn't a rifle. He and the other disciples were fighting a storm in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus suddenly appeared, walking on the water. Peter wanted to try it, too, and Jesus gave him permission. He did fine until he noticed the raging waves pounding his ankles. When he focused on them, he sank.

At the end of the day, a faulty scope and rough water are small things compared to other things that can steal my focus from serving God faithfully and loving Him unconditionally. Perhaps the major focus stealer for most is the busyness of life: work, relationships, hobbies, children, school, homework, community affairs. None of these is sinful, but all of them can rob me of life's true joy.

Taking time to ponder my daily lifestyle can reveal my life priorities. The results can be revealing … and shocking. When they're out of whack, they steal my focus.

May God help each of us to step back and take a look at our lives. Let us ask God to show us what might be out of focus.

Prayer: Father, focus us on the exact plan and purpose that You have for our lives. Amen.

About the author:

Martin Wiles <mandmwiles@gmail.com>
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Hey Martin,
    An amusing story but so true to our lives.
    Thank you for sharing this one.


    Thanks Martin for reminding us that our focus should always be upon Jesus. Re-evaluating our life’s priorities is always a good way to keep our hearts in check.


    I read somewhere lately that very few guns shoot straight where you think they should. That is why police have to do target practise with their own gun to be able to overcome how crooked it really is. Before that not ever handling any guns, I expected point and shoot but it is like golfing on a windy day. You need to make allowances.
    (ON)


    Dear Martin,
    Thank you for your devotional this morning.
    “Focus” is a word that I use for myself with everyday thoughts.
    As I age, I need to do this to find or remember things which sometimes escape me.
    Turning that word into devotionals, Bible study and everyday living is a good thing to remember. Thank you for that.
    (Ontario)


    Mr. Wiles – we have been avid, faithful, every-morning readers of the Presbyterian Daily Devotionals for years. We are native of New Hampshire from our ancestry. Our ancestors were all fishermen and hunters.
    After reading with much interest your “Focus Stealers” for 9/28/15 we looked at each other and shared a respectful chuckle. A rifle shot into a herd of deer, whether successfully bringing down the target or not, would scatter the herd immediately with not one deer remaining for the second try. Respectfully, Mr. Wiles, we just can’t understand your recollection of this event.
    The theme “Focus Stealers” is “dead on” and we discussed the everyday “stealers” in our lives and home.
    Thank you for your continued dedication and your frequent articles for our morning devotional readings.
    (NH USA)

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