So Easily Distracted
Have you found yourself easily distracted from what might be important? My personality type is such that I have a hard time focusing without being distracted. Just ask my wife. Whenever we have moved and had to pack, she’d tell me to let her do it, because she knows I’d open a box or drawer and start down memory lane! That’s why it’s best for me to journal my prayers. I think God must chuckle a bit at my prayers, because they wander all over the place. But I do know that He follows me as I go through my scattered thought journey. A Literature Evangelist Leader told me once (when I was distracted by less important tasks) to be careful not to chase the devil’s rabbits!
I’ve been reading the story of Nehemiah. Now he was not a man easily distracted. His mission from the King and God was to go to Jerusalem and build the city walls. He prayed that God would give him success, and then he went to work. Satan brought opposition and distraction: the locals criticized his plans; conspiracies spread that he was doing the project for his own political gain; and there were even threats of violence. God’s people began to get discouraged (and distracted), but Nehemiah led them in a prayer, asking God to take care of the things they couldn’t control and help them focus on the task. It worked! “So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work” (Nehemiah 4:6). Another time when Nehemiah had an invitation to meet with the opposition, he replied, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down . . . .” Four times they tried to distract him with the invitation, but his answer was always the same. Nehemiah remained focused even when the conspiracies were spreading like wildfire. Here was his answer to the conspiracies, “No such things as you say have been done, for you are inventing them out of your own minds . . . .” And then he prayed, “But now, O God, strengthen our hands.”
As God’s people, we can easily become distracted from the important work He has called each of us to do. Nehemiah was all in. Are we? If we aren’t, we will be distracted. Just because we may be social-distancing doesn’t mean we can’t find other ways to reach the world for Jesus. Nehemiah told the people—when their lives were threatened—“keep safe, but keep working!” We can pray and look for ways to share Jesus with family, friends, and community and still protect ourselves and others. God rewards us with success if we will just focus on the important. So, my friends, let’s remember Nehemiah’s strategy on how not to become distracted, but to have “a mind to work” for Jesus and others.