By Kevin L. Prince
You have seen the picture. A leaf, an animal or a person is captured in sharp and even startling clarity. Though the picture contains more than the leaf, the animal or person, everything else in the picture is unclear and hazy. With the right camera and the right settings, the photographer has skillfully selected what will be focused upon and, sometimes as importantly, what won’t be focused upon. The out-of-focus background actually causes your eyes to naturally focus on the portion of the picture that is in sharp detail.
We can be confronted with an overwhelming multitude of options of how we will live our days and what our lives will be consumed with. Many things beckon for our focus. We must remember that we can’t focus on everything, If we are focused on everything, we are really focused on nothing. We are living without clarity.
As we [go throughout] 2014, let’s revisit what our life is focused upon and, as importantly, what should be out of focus. Let’s adjust the lens that frames our existence. Let’s arrive at what really matters and what doesn’t. And put the two in sharp contrast.
It is possible to focus on things that are of no consequence, while the significant gets lost in the background. The fourth chapter of John illustrates this very point. Jesus had the lost soul of the woman at the well in focus. Lunch was out of focus and forgotten. Meanwhile His disciples had gone into Samaria. While it was a town full of lost souls, all they could see was lunch.
Jesus had to help them focus on what really mattered. He told them, “Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” ( John 4:35). He was drawing their attention to what lay well within their range of vision but was obviously out of focus. The lost surrounded them, but the eternal was out of focus. The temporal had captured their attention.
Let’s consider what we should be focused on in the Texas District. Like the disciples of Jesus in John 4, we are standing in a field that is “white already to harvest:’ The Texas District has a population of over 10.6 million people. That number is so staggering it can be difficult to bring into focus, but we must get a grasp on it. If each of our 330 churches were given an equal share of the population to reach, each would be responsible for more than 32,000 souls! We are told that the average size of all churches is less than 100 in attendance. That means that your pro-rata share of responsibility for the lost of the Texas District would be more than 320 souls!
The field is obvious. It surrounds us. We must not overlook it. In 2014, we must be determined to focus on the field. Jesus said, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” ( John 4:35). Our determination to focus on the field is not for some hazy, out-of-focus date that lies distant in the future. We could wait until 2020, but then the souls of our District will number more than 12.8 million.’ If we don’t engage now, by 2030 we will be faced with 15.7 million lost people. If God were to delay His coming until 2050, the field will be white with 24.8 million souls.’ We must reach them now.
“Focus on the Field … IF NOT NOW, WHEN?” It’s our theme for 2014. But it’s more than our theme. It’s His theme. It is more than just words. It is His call to action for us. Let’s adjust the camera of our personal lives and our churches … and let the temporal become hazy and indistinct . . . and bring the lost into sharp focus. Let’s do it now! Population Statistics from Texas State Data Center, txsdc.utsa.edu. Assumes the same migration rate as occurred in Texas during 2000 — 2010.
The above article, “Focus on the Field,” is written by Kevin L. Prince. The article was excerpted from Apostolic Sentinel, January/February 2014.
The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.