Listen to this devotional:
Hebrews 12:1-2 – Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (KJV)
At five years of age, our eldest granddaughter is tiny, wiry, and very, very agile in both mind and physical abilities.
She could climb out of her crib, up the counters, and over the back of the couch from an early age. She was, and is, like a monkey. At three and a half, she discovered the monkey bars, and although initially we had to walk her from bar to bar, she soon got the hang of it.
Lately, having watched an older kid swing through, skipping a bar, she decided she too could do it, and has mastered that. Still small, she stands on her tiptoes on the platform and reaches her hand out, tapping the first handle until it swings close enough for her to grab it. Then, she sways her little body from side to side until she has enough momentum to bypass the next bar, grabbing the third, then fifth, bars.
She does it over and over and over until her little hands are near to being blistered.
Because of her size, she often has an audience of both children and parents: children who cannot do it, and parents who admiringly use her as an example. As you can imagine, it makes her feel proud.
Sometimes, however, she allows herself to be distracted by her audience, rather than patiently focusing on the matter at hand, and so she either doesn't get up the proper momentum to skip the second bar or loses her grip and drops to the ground.
It is at this time that I remind her to stay focused on her hands and the bars to enable her to complete her feat.
Is this not so similar to the message in Hebrews? No matter what we are doing, no matter how many or few are watching or what is available to distract us, we must keep our focus on the path that has been set out for us, practicing His Word and maintaining truth, honesty, and compassion.
And in times when our path is diverted from what we think we should be doing, or when we suffer admonishments along the way, we need only remember that Christ endured much more than we ever could.
Prayer: Lord, may we remember to stay focused, not letting the attention of others cloud our concentration, and know that You are with us every step of the way. In Your name we pray. Amen.