Imagine your Sunday morning church gathering, with a guest missionary like me speaking. Suddenly, right in the first third of my message, a female college student stood up and start saying in a loud voice, “Peanuts, popcorn, crackerjacks…get your favorite snack here.”
She walked up one aisle and down the next, repeating her words in the best carnival barker voice this side of Barnum & Bailey. “Peanuts, popcorn, crackerjacks…,” she kept calling out for almost 30 seconds, although it felt much longer. The funny thing was a bunch of folks joined her in the third or fourth time she called out her line. It was sort of distracting, you know?
On the morning that I actually did this, it took a bit for some folks to catch on, but it eventually dawned on them that I was illustrating how easy it was for college students to get distracted. I was getting to the point of how Chi Alpha staff help students deal with temptation while in college (and the girl I recruited before the service helped).
Read 2 Samuel 11.
King David got distracted one day and it led to a series of negative consequences. He appeared to be minding his own business one day when he noticed a woman taking a bath on a nearby rooftop, and she was a beautiful woman at that. What a distraction, huh?
That first look, then second look, and subsequent action to send an aide to find out who the woman was led to a number of terrible actions by the King. Note: If you lived close enough to the King where he could see you on your rooftop, isn’t it interesting that David did not know who Bathsheba initially was? That distraction led to temptation. And after the second or third or fourth look, David proceeded into sin. That action of adultery led to further deception, and finally the murder of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah, who was one of David’s finest warriors.
Another form of distraction starts with something good that could cause us to stumble and disregard God’s best for us. Doctor Luke tells a story in his New Testament gospel of a woman named Martha who became distracted by preparations for what she hoped would be a perfect meal when Jesus stopped by (Luke 10:40). She intended to offer great hospitality but got caught up in all that she thought, “had to get done.” She ended up missing a unique and special chance to enjoy the presence of her honored guest. Martha could have benefited from Hebrews 12:2.
We all get distracted at times. Our lives are full and it’s easy to forget that we need to focus on things of eternal worth, not just what our family, friends, or the campus culture says “should be” of value to us (especially since it tends to be temporary stuff). Remember that a distraction can lead easily to temptation, which can contribute to us slowly moving away from God’s best for us.
Scripture also presents the idea that we have to be aware of another distraction. This is the one where God is trying to get our attention and even pull us out of a cycle of spiritual apathy. A grade you did not expect. A reduction in a scholarship that ends up being a clerical error from the school. A family member’s deteriorating health leading to death. A breakup with a friend.
God’s distractions (according to Romans 8:28) are always meant for good and aimed at us becoming mature Christ-followers. Walk wisely. When God wants your attention, He’ll get it.
Love is a verb,
©2014 by Mike Olejarz