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The Horror of Not Staying Focused
Proverbs 27:17

The Horror of Not Staying Focused
Man sharpening a knife with sharpen stone tool
Proverbs 27:17 – “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

Is it not interesting how we continually put our focus on the wrong things? More often than we may want to admit, our lives parallel the stereotypical scary movie where the audience screams “look behind you, dummy!” as impending calamity is seen clearly by the audience – yet the character in focus is ignorant of the peril.

Proverbs 27:17 (NASB 1995) states, “As iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.”

Why is this? Is one man dull while the other is sharp? Are men just generally dull and need all the help they can get?

I believe the answer is simple. From a different vantage point (and diversity of experience), one man can offer insight and personal growth to a friend that is open to the discernment and guidance they offer.

Recently, I was riding along with a sales rep in my company when we started discussing several exceptionally successful salespeople we knew. Recounting that many of them considered themselves to be Christian – and some may even perceive them to be more devout than most – it was disappointing knowing just how many had failed marriages and/or kids that fell away from and even rejected God. It was (and is) shocking to me how generally upstanding Christian individuals (at least from our vantage point) had such unfortunate challenges. One constant was that these people were very well liked, traveled a lot for work, and were very successful by the world’s standards. They had a beautiful house for their families, were faithful to their spouse, and provided well for their children including paying for the best education, vacations, and showering them with blessings such as new cars.

From the outside looking in, it seems they did most things right… except clearly something wasn’t right. Unless it was just an unfortunate trend of devastating circumstance.

As we continued our journey, we reflected and concluded that – despite their best intentions and however well they provided for the physical needs of their families – they consistently were not present. A previous CRO of mine used to say “you must be present to win” referring to the need for us “hunters” to be continually in front of our prospects to move deals forward and win the business. It was a simple yet keenly accurate observation. And it is no less true with our families.

Several years ago, I was unemployed for nearly a year. To say this was a blow to my ego would be an understatement. I generally had been successful and built successful sales teams – and I couldn’t understand why things didn’t work out, nor why no one else in the world seemed to want me. During this season of life, my wife and I only had two children. My mother had expressed concerns to me (prior to my job loss) regarding feeling that my oldest, who was maybe 5 years old at the time, and his younger sister didn’t really have a personal relationship with the Lord yet. When I finally got a new opportunity and started working again, my mother commented to me that my children’s relationship with the Lord had grown by leaps and bounds after I’d been home with them for almost a solid year. She felt certain that God forced me to take a break and slow down to protect the salvation of my household.

Our family’s number one, undisputed priority is the salvation of our household through all generations. Nothing else comes close. Intellectually, we know this to be true. Daily life, though, can distract us from our aim and embroil us in a myriad of meaningless pursuits.

Matthew 6:25-34 (NASB 1995) states:

“25For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

26Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

27And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

28And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,

29yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!

31Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’

32For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

33But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

As you get tangled up in living life, don’t make the mistake of forgetting what God told Cain in Genesis 4:7, that “sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Satan continually pursues your children’s hearts and, as a parent, you are the first line of defense. You must be present and awake to protect them. A sleeping or missing guard is worthless.

1 Peter 5:6-10 (NASB 1995) reminds us:

“6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,

7casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

8Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

9But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

10After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”

Do not make the mistake of missing the peril that an audience would be yelling at you to avoid if you were in a movie. Keep your focus on seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness. God will take care of the rest.

-Jeff Rance II

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Jeff Rance ll

Jeff Rance ll

Jeff Rance ll

Jeff Rance ll

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