Prov. 22:25 lest you learn his ways
and entangle yourself in a snare.
Samuel Grafton once said- "A penny will hide the biggest star in the Universe if you hold it close enough to your eye." It's amazing how big a small problem becomes if you focus on it and let it fill your vision. Yesterday I had a tiny little piece of something stuck microscopically in my jeans. It was occasionally rubbing near my knee. I felt it at the start of the day but didn't worry too much about it. But as the day unfolded and I had several stressful (and immensely far more important issues than a tiny splinter in my jeans) arise, I increasingly noticed that this teeny-weeny, tiny, splinter had grown. I scanned the outside of my jeans searching for the offending splinter, but to no avail.
As the day went on and the stress of even newer difficulties were thrust upon me, I was duly distracted by the splinter in my jeans which now had a hyperdermic needle tip. Once again I searched for the pesky culprit. But it must have seen me looking since it was no where to be found.
I was trying to help people in very sensitive situations yesterday. But I was continually distracted by this splinter which had now been possessed by a demon-goth-lord-of-the-underworld and had stepped up its campaign of annoyance to a fully fledged war on my inner knee and thigh by no longer rubbing itself occasionally into my normally super-humanly tough skin, but now it was deliberately, yea: maliciously jabbing itself demonically into my leg.
Forget the fact that I have the greatest job in the world. Forget the fact that I work in with a talented loyal staff team who are committed to the Cause of Christ and are prepared to do so sacrificially. Forget the fact that I have a loving God honouring family. Forget the fact that I live in one of the greatest places to live on the planet. Forget the fact that I could eat today. Forget the fact that I woke up in a comfortable bed in a comfortable house in a comfortable street in a comfortable neighbourhood. Forget the fact that unlike 80% of the world's population, I actually had something to eat today. Forget all these things- there was a microscopic splinter somewhere in the seam of my jeans causing hell-on-earth-demonic havoc with my leg!
Heb. 12:1 ¶ Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.
Of course I should have known better. I should have realised what the old NY Times columnist, Samuel Grafton, meant when he said that with a penny you could block out the biggest star in the universe. I should have known that when you focus on a problem, even a trivial one, you "feed" it. It grows with attention.
I was reading the book of Nehemiah that other day and was reminded that Nehemiah had many problems in rebuilding Jerusalem. At one point his enemies requested an urgent meeting with him to discuss the rebuilding program. But Nehemiah refused to meet with them.
Neh. 6:3 And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?”
Nehemiah knew how to ignore life's "splinters".
Near the end of the day I determined to rid myself of this splinterous distraction. I changed my jeans. I now reflect that there are probably more times than I care to admit when I have lost sight of the big (read: "important") things in life, and sweated on the small stuff. An older and wiser pastor than me once said to me, Your are only as big as the problems you deal with. Yesterday I was reduced to the bigness of a splinter!
Matt. 6:25-28, 31, 34 ¶ “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ ¶ “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Sometimes we hold our small problems so close to our eyes that we block out our vision of the brightest Star in the Universe (Rev. 22:16).
Rev. 22:16 ¶ “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”