I’m sure you have all heard the story. A goldfish is perfectly content in a fishbowl with a castle because they only have a three-second memory. Every lap around the bowl is a new adventure. Hey look! A castle! Gee, I wonder when they put that castle in. Did you see that castle? Well it turns out that might not be so but for our purposes today we are going to run with the concept. (Side note – who PAYS for these studies?! I need a job!)
Sometimes in our faith walk we can find ourselves distracted. There is an assignment for our weekly Bible study group and while we know in the back of our heads we will get more out of the study if we complete it, we just have too many other things going on (favorite TV shows, mani-pedis, wine tasting). It’s no big deal. Our group leader even told us, “Come whether you have your homework done or not! We want you here and there is still something for you!” So we get sidetracked and we skate by.
Maybe a project that we are working on for the children’s ministry just isn’t going as smoothly as we like so we find somewhere else to be on that day. The last time they took a trip to the nursing home, you ended up sitting and watching the birds in the lobby because the person you were supposed to visit was getting over a cold that day and wanted to nap instead. So you gave up.
Yesterday I was having a discouraging day. Little things were just not going as smoothly as I wanted them to. And then a bigger thing came along and I pressed through but my heart wasn’t in it. I was distracted and discouraged and down. There was a moment last night when I thought I was slipping into that place where I was just going through the motions and had lost my zeal for the ministry ahead. Bad news when we aren’t even half way through VBS yet!!
So I went to my Bible to my go-to pick me up book of Philippians. But for the first time ever I think, the Philippians failed me. I kept reading into Colossians.
Colossians 2:6 & 7
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
Have you ever tried to walk from point A to point B while focusing on point C off to your right or left? This is a fun game to play with your children in a soft space. Most people will list off target toward the third point. They can still get there but they may be three or four steps to the right of their actual destination.
When I am trying to serve God and looking anywhere other than at Him and His purpose, I become so easily distracted by the little things – outside opinions, small hiccups in the process, other people who are accomplishing more than I am with less effort, minor discouragements. But my task is not about those outside factors. I must firmly believe that God is going to complete His work through me as long as I stay on His course. I may not see the final impact until the day of glorification, but I can put my faith in His promise.
That’s just one of the amazing things about God. No matter how goldfish distracted I get, He’s still the castle – never moving around; always there!