Learning the Lesson of Focus

In his book, That First Season, John Eisenberg tells the following story of Vince Lombardi:

Obsessing over a new offensive wrinkle one day, he forgot to put on his pants after practice and left the locker room wearing just his underwear; a security guard told him to go back and finish dressing.

It was his extraordinary focus that helped make Vince Lombardi a great football coach. He knew what mattered to him and pursued it with abandon. He also knew what should be secondary to his pursuit and didn’t allow those things to distract him.

While I am not proposing that anyone walk around in public without pants (in fact, you’ll probably want to check with your family before walking around in private without pants–some things are just better left unseen!),  we would do well to learn from Lombardi’s single-minded focus.

Paul told the Philippian church that there is just one thing that is important, one thing on which they should focus. It’s the “one thing” that drove his life and ministry ever since he met Jesus on the road to Damascus–the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Because they’ve trusted Christ alone, this one thing is now their life and their glorious, soul-satisfying everyday pursuit. “Live in a manner worthy of the Gospel” (Phil. 1:27). It doesn’t mean perfection. It means increasing, delight-filled obedience in all of life.

The Gospel is the grand, vibrant, all-sufficient, all-encompassing focus that is and deserves all of life. Everything else is secondary (Paul actually says everything else is rubbish).

Of course we could then ask, am I spending too much time on social media, sports, or other things that are “secondary”? But I think that’s missing the point. Instead maybe we should consider, “Are my eyes, thoughts, and desires so fixed on Christ that He is becoming more and more beautiful, heart-capturing, and life-giving to me?”

Because I think that might be the lesson of focus: we are so increasingly focused on the best that everything else is seen for what it is, far less (maybe even rubbish).


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