As a noun, “focus” refers to the central point of attention. As a verb, “to focus” means to converge on a central point. Focus, then, is the ability to zero in on what is most important and to see it with crystal clarity. At Mercy Hill, we want folks on our team who have an immense sense of focus.
There are two important factors in the concept of focus. First, we can only focus on a limited number of things. When some things come into focus, other things are pushed out of focus. That is just how it works. No one can (with hyper-clarity) focus on an unlimited number of things. My father used to tell me that all people were limited by two things: your energy and time are both finite. I think that was his way of telling me that humans are very limited in what they can focus on. With limited energy and limited time, we simply cannot focus on everything. If we try to focus on everything, we end up focusing on nothing. Secondly, we must be wise in choosing what we focus on. Understanding that we can’t focus on everything isn’t helpful if we cannot determine what is worthy of our focus. The ability to limit the number of things we focus on and choose them wisely is necessary for any team member at Mercy Hill. We must be able to see through the haze, tune out the white noise, and converge on what is most important.
Of course, the problem with having this type of focus is that it becomes difficult to be approachable. When we know what is most important and chase it daily, getting interrupted becomes a nuisance. In fact, it is possible to become so focused that we cannot be interrupted. Is that okay? I don’t think so. Jesus had a mission and saw things with crystal clarity. His mission was to save the world, and he was focused on it. Yet, at every turn throughout the Gospels, it seems like he is being interrupted and sidetracked. One popular example is Jairus’ daughter and the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5. One day, Jesus was approached by a man begging Jesus to come heal his little girl who was at the point of death. On the way to see the child, Jesus was interrupted. He was side tracked. There was a woman who had a devastating medical issue. Being so embarrassed about her condition, she reached out and touched Jesus’ robe in faith and was healed! But Jesus knew what she had done, and he stopped. Instead of hurrying on about his important business, he stopped and taught the woman (and the people around her) about the nature of faith and the compassion of God.
In the end, focus isn’t just a good trait; it is a necessary one. Without focus, we are doomed to mediocrity at best. But if focus is unrestrained, we can easily fall into something much worse – a lack of compassion.
Being approachable is a sure way to know that focus hasn’t gone too far, and that people (not tasks) are still the mission.
– Andrew Hopper (Lead Pastor)
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