Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Matthew 6: 33 (NIV)
One of my favorite stories is one I heard a number of years ago, and may have shared with you before—but it’s a message to cling to and keep fresh in our lives.
It’s the story of a father who after many missed moments, found out what was truly most important in life, and thankfully it was not too late.
For you see, he was a very successful businessman who finally found time one day from his busy schedule to take his twelve-year-old son fishing. An achiever and a very efficient one, this man considered leisure to be an extravagance. After a long day spent catching nothing, the pair returned home.
“Waste of time,” the man grumbled to his wife that night as they got ready for bed.
“Didn’t catch a thing all day—waste of time.”
His wife turned to him and quietly handed him a small book that his son had showed her earlier when she was putting him to bed. It was his son’s diary, and in it he had written—
“Best day of my life. Went fishing with my dad.”
It changed more than the man’s mind. It changed the man.
We need to have that perspective, that focus, in our lives. And in our better moments we do. Why do we believe that the dawn of each day—like I can see happening outside my window right now—will bring us a fresh new start? Why do we awake each day with at least sliver of sunshine of hope for the day, even though we might be facing difficult moments? Why do we reach out to those who are most important to us, in the middle of uncertainty or disappointment?
Perhaps the answers are because deep down inside each of us, we really can see the important in the midst of the unimportant or urgent in life. In the midst of whatever we face, we know the things that are most important. We know innately the right decision to make when confronted with a conflict between things for ourselves and things that will be the best for others.
In the deepest recesses of his heart, the father in the story above knew the right thing to do—it simply took the words of his twelve-year-old son to direct him there. Words he had probably heard in so many other settings, but never took the time to listen to, and never bothered to focus on seeing the important versus the unimportant in life.
Deep within us we know the right things to do today and this week. I don’t know what you are facing, but maybe there are some important things you need to focus on while we still have the time—
Reconciling with your spouse or child, openly, or in your heart;
Spending twenty minutes with a child or grandchild—a moment that may not initially seem important to you—but which will never be forgotten by them (and you);
Sitting by the side of a friend taking his last few breaths among us;
Helping someone with something you really don’t want to do, but know they need;
Smiling at someone, spending a moment with someone—maybe just taking time with them through a moment where they need a lift from whatever is holding them down.
If you happened to miss me sharing this before, I’m a fan of the songs of Elton John. One of those is particularly poignant in reminding us of the focus of our lives.
It’s the last words of a son, dying of AIDS, to his father. In the son’s final moments of life, he and his separated father are once again reunited and reconciled. In that moment, the son says to his dad:
Yesterday you came to lift me up
As light as straw and brittle as a bird
Today I weigh less than a shadow on the wall
Just one more whisper of a voice unheard
Tomorrow leave the windows open
As fear grows, please hold me in your arms
Won’t you help me if you can to shake this anger?
I need your gentle hands to keep me calm
Things we never said come together
The hidden truth no longer haunting me
Tonight we touched on things that were never spoken
That kind of understanding sets me free
‘Cause I never thought I’d lose, I only thought I’d win
I never dreamed I’d feel this fire beneath my skin
I can’t believe you love me, I never thought you’d come
I guess I misjudged the love between a father and his son
Not too late, but sadly as their “last song” together, that father and son realized how much they meant to each other. Only his illness caused them to both refocus on what was really important in life. Sadly, that too often happens to too many of us.
In life, things will happen; people will disappoint us, all of which may cloud our focus from the important. We often allow ourselves to be temporarily separated from the important people, the important opportunities, and important moments in our lives. And we too often allow the busyness of our days to separate us from the time we should spend with our God.
In the midst of the busyness and burdens of our days, and remembering the missed moments we can’t afford to miss anymore, we need to step back, take a few breaths and refocus our lives on the God who created us.
And then on those people and moments that He points us to—which are most important in life.
Before it’s too late.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2014. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.