Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Concentration (07/24/08)
By Paul Potenza
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Someone (I think it was the late, great Lewis Grizzard) once said that "writing is easy...You just stare at a blank piece of paper until blood pops out of your forehead."
Better than anything I could think of, this phrase aptly describes what I'm feeling as I look at this weeks topic.
I like the term focus. I've often been encouraged to focus on the topic at hand. This is, of course, useless information. I cite an unfortunate incident wherein my saint of a father was trying to get me to understand the nuances of algebra when I was a freshman in highschool. "Just focus" he would tell me. That was ridiculous because the more he told me to focus on algebra, the more I would focus on just about anything else. As I was trying to unlock the mystery of the pythagorian therum, there would be an ant trying to unlock the mystery of how to get to my peanut butter & marshmellow sandwich. I was with the ant on this one. I mean let's face it. Which one would you rather solve?
So I'd take the obligatory stance of furrowing up my brow (a show of concentration that I learned early on to throw off any adult participants) and really try to understand what the heck old Pythagorius meant. But my heart was not in it. Poppy meantime, was encouraging me to reach greater heights with encouraging words like "just find the key." Frankly, at this point, I was wishing that he would find the key to the door and leave me and my ant and my sandwich to our own devices. (You never get a break like that when you need one.)
So here we are with me 30 years later looking at a blank piece of paper and trying to focus again and the thought occurs to me.
This is a christian column.
Unlike our bretheren in the nonchristian world, we are called upon to focus on a regular basis. We have to do a lot of stuff that causes us pain. We have to read and study and meditate and have actual solid answers for things that seem unexplainable. Our charge is to "Study to show yourself approved, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
Didja ever notice how our Savior always had a ready recollection of scripture with which He could silence the naysayers? I'll give you a couple. His mother and father. "We have been searching for You!" "How is it that you searched for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father's House?" The woman caught in adultery..."Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." The question concerning taxes..."Then render unto Caeser what is Caeser's and unto GOD what is God's...and astonished by His answer, they became silent."
Don't fool yourself. Don't for a minute think that Jesus came with these answers ready made. He had to focus and learn just like the rest of us.
Getting back to the original premise of this piece...There came a time in His beautiful life when He was also staring at a blank page...and He furrowed up His brow...
and the blood popped out of his forehead.
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