“Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24
My childhood friend, Oscar, and his dad were always coming up with creative ways for us to spend the weekend. When I was around 10 years old, they took my brother and me on a trip to a small village in Honduras called "Singing Frogs." As soon as we got there, we jumped out of the car with one mission on our minds: to play marbles.
We were so focused on the goal at hand that all the other variables did not distract us. I was not concerned with what we would have for lunch or if we would be able to find our way back. To this day, I don't know where we were, the names of any of the other boys who played with us, or how many marbles I lost along the way. Even though I didn't win as often as I would have liked, we had a great time and accomplished our goal. We had successfully played marbles all afternoon.
These days, it's harder to be so single-minded. I wish I were better at remembering God's Kingdom and focusing on my purpose to love and glorify Jesus with my life.
Samuel is a great example of someone who stayed focused on the Lord. In 1 Samuel 12, the Israelites have just decided they should have a king like the nations around them, and they are ready to follow Saul no matter what. Samuel rebukes them for rejecting God, but he encourages them to stay close to the Lord and to “fear the Lord and serve him faithfully.”
At the end of his discourse, Samuel pinpoints Israel's problem and gives them an incredible tool to help them. The repeating problem for the Israelites was this: They did not fear God or serve Him faithfully because they had forgotten God and all the things He had already done.
It's so easy for me to go from one thing to another without pausing to consider what God is doing in my life. That's a huge problem because it changes my motivation for what I do. Instead of serving God out of a thankful heart, I can find myself serving out of a self-righteous heart. My service becomes a negotiation tool for the things I want rather than a reflection of my love for Jesus.
When I focus on what God has already done for me rather than thinking about how God will bless my obedience, it changes my attitude in at least four ways:
- I can be content in every season of life.
- I can trust God with the results of ministry.
- I can stay focused on my personal walk with God.
- I can serve Him with joy instead of pride or guilt.
Total focus on playing marbles allowed me to live in the present and enjoy my afternoon. Total focus on God allows me to enjoy life and focus on what is really important. Little by little, I'm learning that the question at the end of the day should not be, "Did I do enough?” but instead, “Did I live my life in such a way that shows God I'm thankful for who He is and what He has already done for me?”
Consistent focus on God’s Kingdom can only come when I consistently take the time to consider who God is in my life and all the great things He has done.
Ministerial Assistant | Evangelism, Prayer, and Discipleship