By Michael C. Mack
Focus is vital for success in many areas of our lives. One place we see this illustrated is in sports. A wide receiver in football runs the right route and then focuses on the ball into his hands, regardless of all the other things going on around him, even to the point of getting hit once he catches the ball. A basketball player focuses intently on the front of the rim as she prepares to shoot a free throw. She has trained herself to ignore the screaming of the opposing fans and those waving wacky signs in the stands behind the basket. A baseball pitcher focuses on the catcher’s glove as he winds up and pitches the ball. He tunes out everything else besides the glove—all the side issues and noise.
Focus is also vital to how we live out our faith. Lots of side issues—distractions that don’t matter from an eternal perspective—continually compete for our attention. That’s why the apostle Paul reminded Christ followers, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2). That same Paul, as he was on his way to Jerusalem, uncertain about what would happen to him there—trials, imprisonment, and possible death—told some of his fellow leaders,
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace (Acts 20:24).
Paul could have been distracted by many side issues, including the many hardships he went through or the “foolish and stupid arguments” (2 Timothy 2:23) people often tried to pull him and his disciples into. Instead, he focused intently on the one big task to which God called him, to share the gospel message of God’s grace everywhere he went.
Imagine if everyone in Christ’s church had that same kind of focus!
Our time of Communion each week is one way we can focus on the main thing. The bread helps us focus on Jesus’ body that he sacrificed for us so that we—and many others—can have eternal life. This cup helps us focus on the blood he shed that provides forgiveness of our sins. This time of Communion helps us focus on the gospel . . . that Jesus died, was buried, and then rose from the dead. It helps us focus on our task: to tell others about the good news of God’s grace.