The Main Thing
Lee Iacocca once said, "The main thing in life is to keep the main thing, the main thing." I don't know about you, but I often find it hard to stay focused and to not get distracted by secondary (and often good) things.
As a follower of Jesus, my own distracted restlessness is challenged by words like John Piper's statement, "God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him" or Augustine's prayer, "You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee." I am always learning to repose in God, always seeking to go further in the contemplative life by setting my focus on God alone.
Eugene Peterson speaks of a soul's initial coming before God with the language of adoration and love, which unfortunately often falls into disuse or into limited use. The language we often develop is one less centered in adoration and more focused on the self. Conversely, the focus of the psalmist, while not denying personal needs and fears, is always on God, God's character, qualities, attributes, and ways. The language is one of love, adoration, and appreciation—even in the midst of uncertainty or trouble, even after years of following God. God is the main thing.
For those in need of clarity amidst constant diversion, the psalmist lives a countercultural example of focus and priority. On any given day, the psalmist offers a challenge to thinking in terms of self-need, answered or unanswered prayer, and ongoing concerns. The psalmist introduces the peculiar notion of contemplating God for who God is.
In contrast to the very clear and pronounced weaknesses in some solutions to life's needs and challenges, the kingdom Jesus came to proclaim is a glorious possibility and real presence. This kingdom is why we are here; its king can captivate our passions and our wills. During a recent trip, I was reminded of the amazing contrast of Christ's enduring kingdom versus the short-term shelf life of many of the "utopian" movements in history. The Nazis, the Communists, and any and all pretentious systems inevitably crumble before the unshakeable kingdom of God. As a believer, I can remind myself that I pray today with the church across the ages and around the world: God's Kingdom come. God's will be done on earth—here and now—as it is in heaven.
This is one answer the Christian holds in a mind-numbing sea of distraction. As we gather physically or otherwise with believers in our time and across history, whether during the reflective season of Lent or the overwhelming events of Holy Week, we come as people in need, people with problems, wounds, issues, and concerns. And we are joined with other believers as people in process. We are all souls on a journey. The salvation and full redemption of our bodies is yet to come, and yet until then, we press on in these bodies in faith, hope, and love—by God's grace, mercy, ongoing-forgiveness, and Spirit.
As we begin this day, the invitation to clarity is the same as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow. Fix your minds and hearts on Christ, his glorious being, his dynamic kingdom, and his compassionate love.
Stuart McAllister is Global Support Specialist for RZIM in Atlanta, Georgia.