This religious column is called Focus on Faith. So, what has been your focus lately? What things have occupied your attention? What’s important to you?
Regardless of how you answer these questions, it is not the words that come from your mouth that give the most accurate account. The naked truth behind the above questions is revealed by these two things: your checkbook register and your calendar.
If you are like the kind of person I was in the past, chances are your checking account balance is getting dangerously close to insufficient funds, your credit card debt has mushroomed and your calendar is full of busyness as you go from place to place trying to meet the commitments you have made to spend some time with family and friends during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
What kind of person was I, you ask?
The date was Dec. 23, 1987. Passing motorists with their passengers were pointing and laughing at the silly driver of a small, two-door 1979 Toyota that had a 17-foot canoe loosely tied to its roof as the snow and gusty winds threatened to blow it off.
That driver was me!
So what was I doing buying a canoe on the second day after the winter solstice — when the lakes already had a foot of ice?
Chasing after things — things that in the end don’t give lasting contentment, meaning and purpose to life.
Is it wrong or sinful to buy a canoe? Not in and of itself. The problem was that I impulsively spent $500 without consulting my wife first.
Big mistake. Husbands, are you listening?
That Christmas of 1987 was not conducive to a harmonious marital relationship in the Milo home. Concerns and worries over finances have a way of killing Christmas joy.
Thanks be to God, my wife and I are experiencing greater concord this Christmas compared to the one above.
A couple of months ago I found out about a stationary bike that was like new. It’s a $400 piece of equipment that I could buy at the low price $100.
Did I go out and buy it right away? No. First I asked my wife. Only after she gave me the nod did I purchase it.
Marriage works best when it functions as a partnership, not as two independent individuals doing their own thing.
I asked above, what things occupy your attention? I urge you to take your cue from the Christmas shepherds who said to one another after the angels departed from them, “Let us go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us” (Luke 2:15, King James Version, emphasis added).
The thing is the message, the “good tidings of great joy,” namely, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). It is this thing, this message that points to Jesus Christ as the Deliverer from sin, death and hell, that gives your life real benevolence through the forgiveness of your sins, which He purchased with His precious blood shed on the cross for you.
May God’s Holy Spirit guide your heart to repent of your sins and focus your faith on this wonderful thing — Jesus Christ who gives lasting peace, joy and love! Amen.