I have an expression I use to ward off distraction: “Stop throwing tinfoil for the kitty!”
Let me explain.
Have you ever taken a piece of tinfoil, rolled it into a little ball, and thrown it on the floor for a kitten? For some reason known only to the mind of a cat, that flashy thing is irresistible. Tabby will lunge and bat at the shiny ball with reckless abandon and chase it wherever it may go with seemingly endless energy until he is finally left exhausted and panting on the floor.
The real fun starts when the tinfoil rolls under a piece of furniture and the cat goes nuts trying to get that thing in his claws! He will stab, swipe, stretch, flip, gyrate and otherwise tie himself in a knot to get at it. And for what? Once the kitty gets it in his mouth it is immediately spewed out. It tastes awful, has no nutritional value, and the feeling of metal on teeth really freaks a cat out! In the end, the little creature has wasted energy on a foolish pursuit that bore absolutely no fruit. He is left tired, hungry, and without the energy to chase down a real meal. One wonders how a house cat ever made it through the evolutionary maelstrom of “survival of the fittest.”
Apparently there was a lesson lurking for me in this feline frolicking because it has become my favorite metaphor for foolish diversions wandering onto the path of my daily walk. Whether it is at home, work, or somewhere in between, there is always something ready to take my focus off the responsibilities the Lord has placed in my hands. And after chasing down the various bits of nonsense thrown in my way I always end up with a bad taste in my mouth and nothing in my hands to show for it. Bad kitty!
Oh, how many things the world can lay in front of us to engage our flesh and draw our hearts and attention away from Jesus Christ! God has given us precious days here on earth, each filled with opportunities to serve Him and bring forth the praises of Christ. To toss them away on pursuits of no eternal value seems such a sad endeavor. How often do we expend treasured energy that we cannot spare only to say we are too used up to have any left for service to Him?
We have many scriptures admonishing us in the wise use of the resources God has given us, our time on earth being a critical one. One of my favorite passages along this line is found in Ephesians 5:1-21. The opening verses of this passage call to our minds the need to be imitators of God because we are His children; provide a contrast between the things of God and the things of this world; beckon us to walk as children of light; and encourage us to learn and know what pleases the Lord. Then we are given an urgent appeal to wake from sleeping among “the dead”, a stark metaphor for spending too much time among the attractions of a godless world. A body in the grave does not experience sunlight, and it is the same for us if we are found engaging in worldly activities or mindsets not suited for the Christian soul. But if we remove ourselves from these things found in the darkness of this world, and instead pursue what is good and right and true, the light of Christ can fully shine on us.
Verses 15 through 17 then call us to conduct ourselves with the wisdom the Lord has granted us:
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Eph. 5:15-17).
We are to walk as those who are guided by Him – not foolishly like those who do not know Christ – living this out practically through the things on which we choose to spend our God-given resources.
We must resist the worldly flash and pursue the light of Christ.
As Christians we must endeavor to spend our time wisely. There is so much in this world to grab our attention and much of it is not good. Even those things we see as benevolent may be diverting our attention from Christ. The enemy of God takes great pleasure in drawing the Christian away from his Lord and will use any means available to accomplish this.
So, let us be careful when choosing our pursuits or how to spend our “spare” time. We can start by asking ourselves a couple of questions:
- If it will not bear eternal fruit, is it really worth my time and energy?
- If Christ is not glorified by it, what profit can there be for me?
If you have difficulty in this area like I do, be sure to start your day with prayer and time in the Word. Nothing recalibrates my bearings like time alone with the Lord before I face the onslaught of the world. I also keep the uplifting lines of one of my favorites songs near to my heart:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.