proper focus

Jules —  June 9, 2011

I’ve been thinking about Jesus’ response to the Pharisee’s question, “What is the greatest commandment in the law?”.  His response, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

I like the message translation for fresh insight: Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

Lydia wrote a paper about someone she admires. She chose me! I cried. I didn’t think she listened. I didn’t know she was watching. What was a bit surprising to me were the things she didn’t mention. There wasn’t anything in the paper about me being a stay-at-home mom and a kid chauffeur. My meals weren’t mentioned. The state of our house or the clothes in her closet. . . . none of the things I do for her were mentioned. . . not one. She shared about how I’d baked for church, helped with class parties and field trips and ministered to women at the pregnancy center I volunteer at. She told a story I shared with her about how I’d prayed with a young woman as she chose to trust Jesus.

I think I get off track a lot. I get concerned, especially when I begin to make comparisons to other moms, that I’m not doing enough for my girls. I’m not an ambitious housekeeper, I’m disorganized and tired!  I worry about the girls’ grades, activities, how many books they read. . . . the list can go on and on.

There must be something innate in all of us that understands and bears witness to the two greatest commandments, Love God, Love People. That is why we exist. The things that Lydia admired about me fell in these two categories. She noticed the times when I served people. That is what I need to be focusing on!

I’m reading a book that encourages living a good story. The author spoke to a father upset about his teenage daughter’s hidden pot and disrespectful, bad boy boyfriend. He commented that she wasn’t living a good story. After talking, her father realized he wasn’t giving her a good story to experience at home and she was out looking for the best story she could find. He decided to join an organization that builds orphanages around the world. He volunteered his family to build one even though they were broke, knowing that a good story involves risk. In just a few days time, his daughter began to get excited and asked to go to Mexico. It wasn’t long and she ditched the boyfriend. Her father gave her a better, more exciting story to live. He said, “No girl who plays the role of a hero dates a guy who uses her”.

Loving God and serving others is the best example we can give.

Our families are watching!



9 responses to proper focus

  1. It’s so easy to get caught up in the tasks that don’t have eternal implications.

    Only adults appreciate the daily tasks their parents did as they grew up anyway and even then it’s not those memories that shape who they are.

  2. I’ve been trying to read this paragraph each day til it becomes part of my thinking, from “My Utmost for His Highest”. Feb. 21,

    If what we call love doesn’t take us beyond ourselves, it is not really love. If we have the idea that love is characterized as cautious, wise, sensible, shrewd, and never taken to extremes, we have missed the true meaning. This may describe affection and is may bring us a warm feeling, but it is not a true and accurate description of love.
    Have you ever been driven to do something for God not because you felt that it was useful or your duty to do so, or that there was anything in it for you. but simply because you love Him?

    This is part of the devotional for that day. This is from the book I gave you at the Garage sale week-end. It is always covering a thought I hadn’t thought about.

    • That is a really awesome quote from that book. I’ll have to read it several times, too. It is so easy to slip into the trap of living an over-cautious life. I think at the end, we will wish we’d taken more risks.

  3. A wonderful picture of your family.

  4. Hey, I see your family is growing! :)

    I think we all get off track a lot, you are not alone there. Your story reminds me so strongly of the story of Mary and Martha. It isn’t that being clean and doing the work that must be done isn’t important, but Mary’s focus and priorities were in the right place. There is a time and a place for everything and I think it is tremendously easy for human beings in general, Christian or not, to give too much on an important place to the day to day chores of life and not enough on connections, be that with God, family, friends or time for ones self.

    Wonderful that Lydia wrote that about you!

    • Yes, it’s not that the day to day stuff isn’t important but it is not the most important. It is so easy to focus on the “should do” that we easily neglect the “must do”.

  5. This is a post I definitely needed to read as we now face Connor’s senior year, his last year of homeschool. And I’ve been worrying…have I done enough, did I teach him enough, did I prepare him enough. All concerns that, while important, are limited and without eternal merit. Thanks for the re-focus, dear cousin.

    • I have no doubt the answer is, “Yes!”. But, I totally get your concern. I ask myself the same questions and I’m not at that BIG milestone yet! You, undoubtedly, have taught Connor the two greatest commandments through your life’s example.

  6. Ha! I’ve just figured out how to comment on your blog. You push the little coffee cup in the corner….me and my brain.

    Anyway, I loved your post and loved your family pic. It’s beautiful!