#2 – The Distraction of Annoying Intruders
If you are just checking in, I am doing a series this week of requests that I don’t think I have seen on a prayer chain…prayers that I have added for myself after reading Lessons from a Sheep Dog by Phillip Keller.
He writes about an event that occurred every spring that caused some serious interruptions to his shepherding; the arrival of a flock of crows that nested in trees adjacent to his pastures until their fall migration to a warmer climate.
The crows delighted in taunting Keller’s sheep dog who would spend hours chasing them. Leaping in the air as the birds swooped down, she would end up completely exhausted and having accomplished nothing to help with the sheep she was supposed to be tending.
In the book, Phillip Keller pointed out that the crows had come from outside the property, were in no way a part of the work he was trying to accomplish, and yet, his sheep dog would become completely preoccupied with their existence .
The distraction of these invasive and tormenting crows exhausted his dog and kept her from performing useful service.
In the book, he points out that we encounter similar distractions as we attempt to serve God and His Kingdom:
“Circumstances which are not part of His purposes for us intrude themselves into our experience.
The difficulty is they distract us from our most important responsibilities to Christ.
They call us away and tempt us to take off in hot pursuit.
In the process our energies are wasted, our strength is expended – yet the benefit to God or His flock is nil.” *
I think how often I can lose an entire day because of some annoying set of circumstances that has intruded on me from outside.
I get worked up and lose all focus as I attempt to eradicate something that really has nothing to do with the work God called me to do that day.
This does not apply to the divine interruptions that God sends our way…you know the ones…where you had your day all neatly planned until you get a call from someone who needs help.
No, the things I am talking about are the “noisy crows” that clamor for my attention; things that are outside of God’s purpose for me and yet I find myself expending precious energy on these things instead of God’s things.
At the end of the day, the intruders are unscathed, God’s purposes remain unfulfilled and I am worn out.
And so my prayer for Day 2 would be:
Heavenly Father, help me to recognize annoyances and circumstances that are outside Your purpose for me each day that clamor for my attention. Give me strength to resist the temptation to be distracted by these. Help me to be wise about where I expend my energy so that it can be spent on the things You have set me to do, according to Your plan for me. Enable me to keep my focus firmly on You throughout the day no matter what swoops in to taunt my mind and jar my nerves.
*Lessons from a Sheepdog by Phillip Keller; Thomas Nelson, 2002; page 48
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