Remember Dug, the talking dog from the movie “Up”? He had a device that allowed his master to hear and understand him. What we discover is that as much as Dug wants to focus intently on his master, he is constantly distracted by squirrels. Dug’s hilarious distraction has become part of our vernacular. We now call them “squirrel” moments.
Brothers and sisters, I think that we might be in potential squirrel moment. As much as we desire to stay focused on the Master, I fear our focus is being tempted to shift to other things, even important things. We are now approaching month seven of the COVID 19 pandemic. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined how life would be so radically altered and how we do church to pivot constantly. We are entering a presidential election cycle that once again is dividing our country into differing ideologies, and according to some, who I vote for makes some sort of statement as to my spiritual maturity. Our cities are literally blowing up with unrest and we wonder if it will ever “settle down” again. If there was ever a potential for distraction, this would be it.
Recently, I read Psalm 63 and I was struck with my desperate need to re-focus on the Master. “God, you are my God; I eagerly seek you. I thirst for you; my body faints for you in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water. So, I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory.” (Ps. 63:1-2)
Do you see it? Our focus must always be on Him. Our desire must always be for Him. Our gaze must always be fixed on Him. Pastor, is this your truth today? Are you pursuing Him above all the other things that swirl around us? Are you preaching and teaching and sharing on your social media ways to help your people eagerly focus on the only One who satisfies? Are you reminding your people that in the midst of living in a dry, desolate land without water, the only hope we have is to maintain our gaze on the Source of living water? Pastor, if we are not focused on the Master, how will be able to lead our congregations to do the same? The tendency toward distraction is real and this distraction will not only affect us, but our congregations as well.
Verses 3-5 are most striking and convicting to me. “My lips will glorify you because your faithful love is better than life. So, I will bless you as long as I live; at your name, I will lift up my hands. You satisfy me as with rich food; my mouth will praise you with joyful lips.” Is He better than life? Do you really believe it? Do the people in your church really believe it?
Losing our focus on the Master will manifest itself in fear. It is only when we fix our gaze on Him that we will experience joy that transcends fear, and allows us, even in the midst of distraction to lift our hands in joyful praise. This is what pastoral leadership demands. This should be our focus in every conversation.
My prayer is that the churches of Converge MidAmerica will focus, in the midst of these difficult days, on earnestly seeking the Master. I pray that we would encourage each other to keep our eyes fixed on the Master. And finally, I pray that we would continue to press into a better together that shows everyone around us what it means to live in the joy of the Master!
We love you!