And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.” Acts 6:2
I’ll start by saying that it’s best for you to read the above verse in its context. I just gave you a little teaser for our topic today. Take a quick minute right now to read Acts 6:1-7.
In short, the apostles were presented with a challenge, and a significant one at that: distributing food to all of the widows in their faith community, which more than likely numbered at least 1,000 women. The fact that they turned this service down in no way signified that it was unimportant. On the contrary, they realized that it was so important that they assigned seven qualified men to oversee this need. Why? How was it OK that they said no to meeting this need themselves? Because they were called to focus on what God had asked them to do: prayer and the ministry (teaching) of the Word.
There’s a whole lot that we could unpack from these seven short verses in the book of Acts, but today I just want to narrow it down to one main thing:
Did you realize that focus is a discipline? It’s hard for us to say no to good things so that we can say yes to great things. Many good things in this life vie for our time and attention, but when these good things overtake the best things, the things that we must prioritize over all else, we’ve lost our focus. For example, let’s just look back to the text in Acts. The apostles had a significant need that had to be met. Widows were going without their daily distribution of food. They needed to eat. This job was noble and worthy of time and attention…just not their time and attention. Why? Because God had given them their priorities, which were prayer and the teaching of God’s Word. Had they allowed this urgent need to distract them from their primary calling, verse 7 might have been written differently. Instead, they appointed able men to address the need, and they were then freed to FOCUS on their priorities, which resulted in growth in the church.
What prioritizes your attention and your time? Is it what God has called you to or is it other pressing, urgent things that although they may be good, are keeping you from fulfilling your primary purpose? If you are married, one of your primary, God-given purposes is to love and prioritize your spouse. If you’re single, one of your primary God-given purposes is to love and serve the people that God has placed in your life. Where we tend to get off course is when we fill our plates with everything that is good and leave little to no room for what is best. The discipline of focus recognizes and discerns the difference between good and best. The discipline of focus sees the value in pursuing and prioritizing the best in order to be the most effective. This goes directly against the mentality of a mile wide but only an inch deep. How about we strive for depth more than width so that wherever we stake ourselves in the ground, we will find that we are deeply effective and purposeful.