Focus

About 20 years ago we visited a farm near Baton Rouge with its water needs supplied by an artesian well. An artesian well taps into an aquifer that is under geological pressure. Once tapped, the water comes to the earth’s surface without the need for a pump. The artesian well on this farm supplied all the farm’s needs – house, barn, cattle, and orchard irrigation. No pump, no pressure tanks, all free-flowing.

I asked the owner about the depth of the well. 2500 feet – deeper than they had anticipated. I asked him how long it took to drill. A couple months. I asked him the process of deciding where to drill. He said they were pretty sure there was water down there so they picked a spot and started drilling. And drilled, and drilled. They hit water a couple times, but not quality water, so they kept drilling. I asked him if he was ever tempted to give up and start a new hole. His response? “If we started a new hole, we would probably have gotten the same results and maybe even settled for water of less quality and might have missed out on this amazing, free-flowing water.”

We live in a culture in which we find it difficult to drill deep – relationally, spiritually, or in our careers. We are all in until things don’t quite go our way, then we pull up stakes looking for a better place to start drilling, hoping for better (different?) outcomes. I think we were designed to drill deep, to live with focus and intent.

We serve a God of focus and intent. Read through scripture and you can see this. He initiated the redemption process with Abraham and his descendants and has stayed that course throughout history. Note how often he reminded his people of their rescue from Egypt and their job to be a blessing to the world around them. Note how he consistently told humanity, “I want to be your God, I want you to be my people.” Note his focus on the outsiders, the poor, the widows and orphans. Note how this came through loud and clear through Jesus, “the visible expression of the invisible God” when he rolled out his ‘mission statement.’ Note how Jesus prepared his followers to carry out his mission by focusing on a few – Peter, James, and John, as well as Mary and Martha.

As Jesus charged his followers with the mission of carrying the good news to the world around them, he suggested they do so by emulating what he did. He told them, “as the father sent me, so I am sending you.” It seems to me that if our God is a God of focus, who modeled focus through Jesus, then maybe, just maybe, we might want to learn focus as well. It would serve us well in relationships, spiritually, and in our jobs. It’s how we were designed. God doesn’t intend for us to go wide and try to be everything to everyone. He intends for us to drill down with him and with the people he places in our lives. Focus. It’s transformative. And its one of the most practical things we can do.

Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. (John 4)

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Curt Hinkle

I am a practical theologian. A theology that doesn't play out in one's everyday life is impractical, or of no real use. A simple definition of theology is the attempt to understand God and what he is up to, allowing us to join him in his work.

9 thoughts on “Focus”

  1. Curt – I love seeing your posts! Each one is not only “practical” but relevant. Thanks for the time you take – it is certainly appreciated.

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  2. I love the artesian well analogy, Curt! In our fast-paced world we so often only skim along the surface, moving from one thing to the next. Digging deeply is intentional and time-consuming, but whenever we do we develop a deeper understanding and renewed insights. In teaching, I talk about just throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks, rather than staying with something long enough to explore all the facets the concept. I need to remind myself that my walk with Jesus is more than a daily devotional, but rather a minute by minute conversation with Him. Today I’ll picture the constant supply of life-giving water flowing up and through me!! Thank you so much!!

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