Other times I am walking through the kitchen toward yet another chore—paying bills, making beds, studying for Bible class—and there he sits again, looking right into the window while he munches on the birdseed, almost as if he is taunting me. So I am off again on this merry-go-round ride and many times I even forget where I was headed in the first place. More than once I have ended the day with things undone because of those aggravating, bushy-tailed rodents stealing the food right out of my birds’ mouths.
We do the same thing in our efforts for God. Some petty, relatively unimportant event can distract us and God’s mission goes undone.
What kinds of things? Usually things that appeal to our pride. I get my feelings hurt, I become aggravated with an annoyance of life, someone provokes me and that becomes the only thing I can think about. It takes up my thoughts, my time, and my energy. Suddenly I am no longer the messenger of God, but the messenger of my own sufferings. I have to stop and tell everyone else how unfairly I’ve been treated, and what happens with whatever God wanted me to do? Absolutely nothing. I am too busy worrying about myself.
Every righteous person under the Old Covenant was engrossed with God’s plan to send a Messiah. Every decision they made had to do with fulfilling their part of God’s plan. Even some of the bad decisions they made came from that good intention.
Abraham left behind a home in the city and lived in tents for the rest of his life, wandering in a land he never owned. He and Sarah tried to help God with the servants Eliezer and Hagar when, to their eyes, things were not going well with The Plan. Abraham and Isaac procured special wives for their sons to help them with their parts in The Plan. Rebekah deceived her husband because she was afraid he would pass the blessing of God’s purpose on to the wrong son. Jacob’s blessings on his sons ensured a righteous tribe for the Messiah’s lineage. The songs of David and Hannah show their own recognition of the redemption of man as God’s ultimate objective.
Remember that the people in the Gospels also lived under that old law. Anna spoke of the infant Jesus “to all who were looking for redemption,” Luke 2:38, evidently more than one or two. Simeon, a man “looking for the consolation of Israel” had been promised he would see the Christ, and then proclaimed, “Now let me die in peace,” Luke 2:25-29. He could die happy not because he had gained great wealth, not because he had lived a life of luxury, not because he had succeeded in a prestigious career, but because he had seen that God’s plan had come to pass.
Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy man of the Sanhedrin, was willing to lose it all because he “was looking for the kingdom of God,” Lk 23:51. Cleopas and another who walked on the road to Emmaus told the stranger they encountered, “But we hoped that it was he (Jesus) who should have redeemed Israel.”
Those people lived and breathed the plan of God in their lives. They were willing to give up everything to see it come about. Do we think the plan is finished, that now we can just worry about ourselves and our own petty concerns? Paul actually had to tell the Corinthians that they should be willing to be defrauded to keep from harming the reputation of the church, God’s kingdom here on earth. We aren’t even willing to give up parking places and favorites pews to visitors whose souls might be saved!
It’s time to stop putting ourselves forward and, like our righteous brethren of old, remember the reason for it all—salvation. If Almighty God can put us first in his thoughts and plans, why are we so presumptuous and arrogant to believe that we don’t have to put His purpose first in our lives? We are no better than the idolaters who rejected Him when we allow anything to divert us from the object at hand.
I must stop being distracted by the “squirrels” in my life, and work on the job I have been given today and every day, for as long as I possibly can.
But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Cor 11:3