“Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” Matthew 6:32-33 NLT
It was a foggy June day in Northern California when all of the competitors took to the course. It was the U.S. Open and the second major of the 2000 PGA season. Every single player was there to win. Every one of them had focused the months prior to preparing for this tournament, this moment. All of the players were hopeful that at the end of the day on Sunday they would be the one to hoist the winner’s trophy and be the 100th winner of the U.S. Open. After the first round on Thursday, a 24-year-old Tiger Woods held a one shot lead over the closest competitor. At the close of the second round on Friday, Woods had increased the lead to six shots. Saturday evening after the third round, Tiger Woods was set to enter the final round of the U.S. Open with a 10 shot lead. By the time the tournament was over, Woods won his first U.S. Open by a record 15 shots. One of the second place golfers said, “Before we went out, I knew I had no chance.” Tiger Woods' performance was one of the most dominant and focused of all time.
The key word in Tiger’s historic win is “focus.” When asked about how he manages all of the distractions in his life Tiger said, “My main focus is on my game.” Tiger was so focused on his game that over his career he was able to win 79 PGA Tour events, 14 major championships, and 12 international victories. He is considered to be one of the greatest golfers to ever live. While I am not writing all of this to glorify Tiger Woods, I am using Tiger as an example of the principle of focused energy and attention. It is a powerful principle. If you know anything about Tiger Woods' career and life you know what happened when Tiger lost the principle of focus and allowed other things to take away from his focus on his game.
The Scripture above is the biblical use of the power of the principle of focus. Jesus tells his followers that God will provide for their every need if they will just say, “My main focus is the Kingdom of God.” Jesus lets them know, and us, that our primary concern (translate focus) should be living for God and building God’s kingdom. This primary focus will result in God’s grace, mercy, and provision in our life. There is power in focusing on what is most important in life. Focus is a powerful principle.
So here is the problem. Most of us are not great at this principle when it comes to our relationship with God. Seriously, how much time did you give to the various areas of your life this week? How much time did you spend sleeping? Eating? Exercising? Reading? Working? I would imagine that if we were to actually count the time we spent focused on building the kingdom of God it would be a small percentage of our total time. I am not saying this to shame or bash anyone. I want to offer a solution. The solution is obviously simple and eternally difficult. The solution I would offer is this: figure out how you can use every area of your life to focus on building the kingdom of God. You see … the principle of focus is powerful.
This means that every day this week when you wake up you ask God to show you how to build God’s kingdom throughout the day. As you are getting ready you ask how you can use breakfast to build the kingdom. As you are driving you ask how you can use your drive time to build the kingdom. When you arrive at work you ask how you can use your job to build the kingdom. Interacting with your kids you ask how you can build the kingdom. Do you see the focus? Stay focused on how every part of your day, week, and life are building the kingdom. You just never know when your kindness, your sharing, your expression of love and grace is going to help someone else know the love of Jesus. We are to live for God and make the kingdom of God our primary concern, or focus.
This Sunday we will talk about building the Kingdom of God. The message will help us think about how we can use every part of our life to build God’s kingdom. I look forward to sharing this message with you Sunday. We also have exciting news about our “Paving the Way” campaign. Don’t miss this Sunday. God is at work at St. Andrew’s and I can’t wait to see you in church!