Sunday, June 24, 2012

John Donne on distractions

I have the wonderful privilege of preaching this morning at my church, Church In The Oaks, while sharing the pulpit with good friend Rich Cherry. We are preaching on 2 Timothy 2:1-9 which is as follows:
    You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
    Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!
As I discuss the analogy of a soldier refraining from entanglement and focusing on pleasing his commander, I'll share this excerpt from John Donne as it occurred in his sermon entitled The Divided Mind.
I throw myself down in my chamber, and I call in, and invite God, and his angels thither, and when they are there, I neglect God and his angels, for the noise of a fly, for the rattling of a coach, for the whining of a door; I talk on, in the same posture of praying; eyes lifted up; knees bowed down; as though I prayed to God; and, if God, or his angels should ask me, when I thought last of God in that prayer, I cannot tell: sometimes I find that I had forgot what I was about, but when I began to forget it, I cannot tell. A memory of yesterday's pleasures, a fear of tomorrow's dangers, a straw under my knee, a noise in mine ear, a light in mine eye, an anything, a nothing, a fancy, a chimera in my brain, troubles me in my prayer.
We are easily distracted; our attention and devotion is diverted and side-tracked by the momentous and the mundane. But, perseverance in the midst of faith-confirming suffering necessitates a single-minded beholding of the gospel, of the cross, of Christ, of God. Pray with us that God would help us keep him as proverbial apple of our eye.

1 comment:

  1. Went back to re-read this, so timely and lovely. Often it seems my life is one big distraction. Thank you for the nugget of truth! Distractions bind; focus on Him frees.