AUGUST 2022 PASTOR’S BLOG
Dear Cobham Park Church Family,
Picture yourself playing chess with a cat. After a few minutes, there might be more chess pieces on the floor than on the board. The attention span of a lively feline is not very long—milliseconds if there is anything shiny, dangly, or mousy in the room. I once watched a man try to line up seven kittens for a photograph. He picked up two kittens and set them in their proper places before reaching for a third. But by that time, the first kitten had already wandered off after some distraction or another. After five minutes of futile effort, he gave up on his line-up plan. I guess that’s why the phrase “herding cats” is used to describe the impossibility of coordinating some groups.
Our thoughts are as easily distracted as cats. For instance, let’s say that you begin to pray. After a few seconds, little tasks (which you may not have even considered before) can suddenly enter the mind and demand immediate attention. For instance, I was once praying in my study when I suddenly remembered that I needed to clear a spiderweb from my window sill and answer a text. I even have trouble concentrating while preparing a sermon (as you sometimes do in hearing them). Or, let’s imagine that you’re listening to a friend talk about a problem that is overwhelming her. Even as you outwardly appear to be listening attentively, your inner thoughts may turn to a movie you recently watched, an upcoming hair appointment, or a big buck you saw last hunting season. Like a cat in a Christmas tree, our minds leap from one fascinating distraction to another.
Hyperactive scheduling and multi-tasking make concentration even more difficult. And our attention spans have been shortened through constant conditioning by television, internet, and social media. Like finicky felines, we’ve grown accustomed to chasing fleeting fancies. The consequences of this trend are very real. The average Christian is increasingly missing out on peace of mind, contentment, biblical knowledge, rest, reverent worship, patience, and prayer. Scatterbrained saints quickly become “a mile wide and an inch deep.”
So, what should we do? Give up? Throw our phones into the river? Take up transcendental meditation? God offers us the better option of following Jesus’ example. Mark 1:21-39 shows the Lord’s success in regaining spiritual concentration. In the course of twenty-four hours, he’d preached, battled demons, and healed crowds of desperate people. His schedule was hyper-busy, and He was no stranger to multi-tasking. Jesus’ mind must have been simultaneously pulled in a thousand different directions. What did He do?
1) Jesus was very deliberate about His concentration on God. He made time to practice the unhurried discipline of prayer—even if He had to get up before everyone else. As a result, He was able to slow down enough to listen to His Heavenly Father, and live in His peace. The only way to develop spiritual concentration is to regularly exercise it like a muscle. Use it or lose it! What specific steps can you take to follow Jesus’ example in this way? When will you do it?
2) While sacrificially caring for others, Jesus refused to allow their needs and demands to take His
Father’s place. The Lord habitually pulled back from the crowds to clear His mind of distraction. In following God’s lead, Jesus was ready to say “no” to other’s demands—even if this some-times disappointed friends or family. Because of this, Jesus was guided by a profound sense of purpose and direction. He could now serve others God’s way. What would this look like
for you? You can do it! After all,“…We have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16b).”
In His Love,