Rick Writes:

Singular Focus from a Box of Candy

Years ago, when our children were young, we planned a small trip, and before we jumped in the car, I made an executive decision and planned an activity that I thought might get the kids involved memorizing Scripture, if only for a few miles.   After printing some verses on 3×5 index cards and filling a box with candy and a roll of quarters, it was time to move on down the road and let the games begin. Recite a verse and pick a Hershey bar or a quarter from the box.  Then, once you had recited the verse, you earned the bonus question, which if answered correctly, meant another trip to the loaded box. The bonus question? What does the verse mean?

That’s when the unexpected happened.  Our daughter, who must have been around the age of 12, was quick to answer the bonus question, and it didn’t matter what the verse was, her answer was always the same. Whatever the verse, the meaning was the same:  Love God and Serve other People.

How could anyone argue with that?

When asked by a teacher of the law what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.  All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:37-38.

So, what does that have to do with First Baptist Church?

In a word, EVERYTHING.

It is certainly no secret that the church has been through some difficult times, and when difficulty comes, it is very easy to get distracted and look in the rearview mirror with less than noble thoughts.  Often, transitions are not easy.  That’s not to say that we shouldn’t look back if we are seeking forgiveness or reconciliation.  The Bible tells us that our hearts should be clear in as much as we have sought to make all of our relationships right before God and our brothers and sisters. Matthew 5:23-24.

But, then what?

How about the simplicity and freedom that comes from doing two things?   Loving God and Serving other People.  Becoming a people of singular focus. When we are tempted to respond in the moment, when we don’t get our way, when a memory or emotion flashes, when we are distracted by a change in procedure or some other kind of change, Love God and Serve other People.

Maybe it’s time to relax a little and let go of the things that could divert us from keeping the main thing, the main thing.  Hold them loosely.  Let everything be subject to, Loving God and Serving other People.

I believe good things are happening at First Baptist and hopefully you feel the wind of the Spirit as well.  May we continue to trust in the Lord our God, loving Him with all of our heart, soul, and mind, and loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Our daughter had it right.