That “undivided heart” we discussed in worship a couple of Sundays ago remains an elusive blessing for me, and I would guess for many. However, growing to love God and neighbor with every fiber of our being is the goal and expectation for us as fully committed followers of Jesus Christ. The freedom and power of such focus to effect change in our lives and in the lives of those around us cannot be underestimated.
I have witnessed firsthand the impact of such single-minded intensity, and it came wrapped up in a big bay horse named Dusty. The horse was owned by a young cowboy named J.L. Spurgeon, whom we would hire as a day worker with our Kansas outfit when the workload required an extra hand. J.L. is a gifted cowboy who, I would guess, wore his first set of spurs before he was out of diapers. The afore-mentioned horse, Dusty, was among several he would throw in with our string when the time came. There was no doubt that Dusty was of undivided heart and mind, the problem was his heart was bent toward destruction! A meaner and more cantankerous animal I never met. We had to pen him separate from the other horses, because he would kick them away from the feed trough and bite any critter who took exception to his rules. He had a nasty habit of raking his front hoof across the rider’s shin bone or stomping on his foot when the saddle was going on or off. And, if given the slightest opportunity to catch his rider out of position, Dusty would break loose and buck like a National Finals Saddle Bronc. That animal was death in a horsehair bag, but even with that list of traits and dangers, J.L. would always pick Dusty out of the string when we had serious work to be done. His skilled horsemanship somehow melded with Dusty’s focused fury and the dust would indeed fly.
While I would hope that our hearts are not bent in the direction of Dusty’s, I think there is a lesson to be learned from the power of single-minded focus. We spoke on Sunday of three steps, as drawn from Colossians 3. Each day we should:
1. Clothe ourselves in the wardrobe of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.
2. Let the word of God dwell in us richly.
3. Foster an attitude of thankful gratitude as we do everything in the name of Jesus Christ.
Through Christ we have been given the ability to be changed and aid in the transformation of the world around us. Is the path you are walking leading you closer to God with each passing step, or are you unclear as to the destination? I would encourage each of us to take stock of where we are and where we are headed. Prayerfully consider including those three steps into your daily routine and see how God can build focus in a scattered heart.
One more thing… if a man ever tries to sell you a dark bay horse that has a glint in his eye and is named Dusty… pass!