Focusing on the Essentials

I am an avid reader and have a blog on which I share book reviews with other readers.  I like literature, history and theology so my blog attracts like-minded bibliophiles.  And since the views expressed there are decidedly Christian, it attracts other Christians who like to think deeply about books.  Most of them are worlds apart from me theologically, but that does not keep me from relating to them because my primary purpose is to talk about books from a Christian worldview.  I’m willing to overlook our differences for the joy of interacting with book lovers who are also Christ-followers.

Recently a missionary friend of mine posted her political views on her web log.  I was surprised at the huge difference between our viewpoints.   The next day as I was praying for her, I had trouble concentrating on her prayer needs.  I kept thinking about what she had written and wondering, “How can a Christian say things like that?”  The Lord seemed to remind me that although some things divided us, something bigger united us:  Both of us want to see the world won to Christ.

When we are in Brazil we try to de-emphasize the differences between ourselves and our Brazilian colleagues.  But, in our most honest moments, we know that some of those differences are glaring.  Do we throw up our hands and give into despair?  Of course not.  We focus on what we have in common with each other: a desire to know God and make Him known.

I’m thankful now that my missionary friend was so candid.  It revealed how easy it is for me to become petty and self-righteous.  May the Lord help me to keep focused on the essentials of loving and serving Him – and of loving others who are doing the same.

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