Distracted Driving. We are all aware that it is illegal and dangerous. 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the U.S. is caused by texting while driving. A driver who is texting is 23 times more likely to be involved in a car crash (for comparison, talking only increases risk by 30%). In 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
But have you ever thought about distracted living?
Life has its distractions. They are a natural part of life – people have dealt with distractions forever; but these disturbances and interruptions have been changing with time and growing in number.
A mind that is constantly distracted is not only dangerous but unproductive and unhappy. If you get pulled in all directions, you risk going through life without intention, taken down a conveyor belt to the very end and reach the end with a life of regrets.
Jesus deals with life distractions in His Sermon on the Mount. He encourages us to do 2 things to find focus in our life.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:33
Jesus is concerned with the priorities of our life. Most of us have a lot going on. But Jesus commands that our first priority be God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness.
Seeking God’s Kingdom means Jesus rules your life. This begins by trusting Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is also a call to be involved in bringing people into His kingdom.
Seeking God’s Righteousness is a broader concept. Because God is righteous, He desires it in every human community, not just Christian. We are to make His righteousness attractive so others will desire it. Live it and encourage it.
Seeking God first is not easy. Everything in my life screams for first place. And many of these things are very good things, like my family, my ministry, my health, and my wife. But Jesus promised that if He is first, everything else will fall into place.
The word ‘priority’ is interesting. We talk about having many priorities. But when the word was first introduced (1600s), it was only singular. And this makes sense. ‘Priority’ comes from the word ‘prior’, which means ‘coming before in time, order or importance.’ You can have many things that are important, but you can only have one ‘First.’ That is your priority. What is your priority?
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” – Matthew 6:34
This has to do with simplicity. Life is not meant to be complicated. If you have more to do than you have time to do it, you are doing more than God intended. Worry only adds to your stress.
Jesus warns us about ‘double worry.’ Tomorrow has enough trouble. Don’t contaminate today by corrupting it with tomorrow’s troubles. If we worry, we double what we worry about. If our fear doesn’t materialize, we worried for nothing. If it does, we worried twice instead of once. In both cases it is foolish. And I’ve often found that things are usually not as bad as I thought they’d be.
In Luke 10:38-42, Martha was worried and bothered that some things weren’t getting done. Jesus told her that one thing was needed. At the time, I think the one thing that was needed was to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him teach. Cooking and cleaning could wait. Often in life, we can simplify things by asking ‘What one thing can I do now that will make the most impact?’ Certain things need to be done. Get them done, and concentrate on God and His Kingdom. And never underestimate the importance of one task.
It is easy to let things around us distract us from what is important. Speaking about his movie, Attack of the Clones, Star Wars creator George Lucas described how the young Anakin Skywalker became the evil Darth Vader: “He turns into Darth Vader because he gets attached to things. He can’t let go of his mother; he can’t let go of his girlfriend. He can’t let go of things. It makes you greedy. And when you’re greedy, you are on the path to the dark side, because you fear you’re going to lose things, that you’re not going to have the power you need.” According to the Star Wars plot, a young jedi became evil because he was distracted. He lost focus.
In a 2015 commencement speech at Dillard University, Denzel Washington urged graduates to put God first and thank him constantly:
“Put God first in everything you do … Everything that I have is by the grace of God, understand that. It’s a gift … I didn’t always stick with him, but He stuck with me … While you’re [on your knees], say thank you. Thank you for grace, thank you for mercy, thank you for understanding, thank you for wisdom, thank you for parents, thank you for love, thank you for kindness, thank you for humility, thank you for peace, thank you for prosperity.” – Denzel Washington