Once, there was a lake. This lake was full of the bobbing heads of drowning people. Thousands upon thousands of helpless people, drowning, unable to swim to the shore. They were trapped in the algae and weeds that filled the dirty water. And we the Christians were standing on the shore of the lake, looking out. And God came to us, and He said, “I want you to swim out there and rescue those people. They can’t save themselves. You’re my ambassadors, and I want you to show my love to those people by swimming out there, meeting them where they are, and supporting them as you guide them to the shore. I’ll protect you from the dirtiness of the lake, as long as you keep your focus on me.”
We got right to work. But although we desired to serve God, we soon found that doing so was more difficult than we’d anticipated. Soon, we found ourselves far from the goal that we had been striving to attain. Some of us were still standing on the shore of the lake, not wanting to expose ourselves to the dirtiness of the water. Others had swam out into the lake, but losing sight of our purpose, we began to become stuck in the mucky water just like the people around us. Soon, we cried out to God, asking Him, “Why, God? Why aren’t we serving you like we want to?”
And God answered us. “My children, I know that you desire to serve me. I know that you want to be the best that you can be. But though you go out with zeal, fully intending to give your all, you soon lose sight of what you’re here for. You forget your purpose, because you begin to let your focus waiver. You get distracted by the dirty water and the people that are stuck there, and soon, you no longer focus on me. Because of that, you either lose heart and stay on the shore, or you get trapped in the dirtiness of the lake. You can be powerful witnesses. You can help these people. But you need to keep your focus on me.”
This story is powerful, because it reminds us of our own lives. It’s so easy to find ourselves in the position of one of these groups of Christians. We go out into the world to serve God, but when we get distracted by the ways of the people around us, we fail to reach our true potential with our ministry. Maybe you’re standing on the shore, disheartened by the sin of the world. Or maybe you’re trapped out in the lake, conforming to the ways of the people around you. Whatever your situation, there’s only one way to live the life God has for us. We need to keep our focus on Him. We need to maintain a worldview that is based entirely on God and our relationship with Him. If you want to be effective in your ministry; if you want to live fully for God; if you want to truly love God and glorify Him in all your ways, then you simply need to keep God the center of your attention. Colossians 3:1-2 says, “If, then, you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” This verse reminds us that we need to keep our eyes fixed on Christ, and make Him the center of our lives.
Every day, you need to make that decision for yourself. Will you focus on God today? Will you make Him your priority? Or will you be distracted by the world, and let your focus move away from your God? Always remember- God is the center of your life, and to live truly is God.
The story of the lake comes in part from The Lake, the Beggar, and the Cowboy, published by Awana International.