A few years ago while doing a missions conference in Dubai with our missions personnel working in the Red Sea cluster, I was preaching through the book of 2 Corinthians for the Bible study. When we came to 2 Corinthians 4 where it speaks of our bodies being like “jars of clay,” our worship leader at the time decided we could maybe find some “clay pots” to put on the stage for decoration. So Richard hailed a cab driven by a Pakistani man, and set off into the city of Dubai to search for “clay pots.”
Richard had far too much confidence in his driver’s English because when he asked him to take him somewhere to purchase “clay pots,” the driver heard something else. The next thing Richard knew, he was driven off the main road onto a residential side road where the driver told him he could find “pot” here!
Thankfully, we didn’t have to bail him out of a Saudi prison for his excursion down a side road. We didn’t have “pots” or “pot” that night but we did have our adventurous friend safely with us!
Focus is essential to success whether in sports, business, building or rebuilding a family or ministry. We have to keep our eye on the ball! Great athletes tell of learning to live “in the zone” when they are competing; meaning that they are mentally fighting to keep focus on the moment at hand rather than listening to the crowd or the jeering of their opponents.
It’s far too easy, in life and in leadership, to find ourselves down a side road and off the track we thought we were on. Sometimes it’s really no fault of our own. Life is distracting… many things crowd our attention and our focus off the “main things.” Sometimes the enemy comes in and decides to allow distraction to serve as his greatest weapon. This was a battle Nehemiah fought on his way to the finish line of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. His detractors, Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem, invited him to a meeting (translated: a trap) in the area of Ono. A friend of mine in ministry tells when teaching this passage that whenever someone invites you to a meeting in Ono, you need to just say “oh no!”
Wisely, Nehemiah did. He refused because “he was doing a great work.” He knew what was at stake in this “side road” meeting. He kept his focus. He kept his eye on the goal. And because he did, he finished well!
FOR MEDITATION: I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down and meet with you.
FOR REFLECTION: “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” What is the main thing in your life?