Focus in a Fragmented World

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Pastors often live fragmented and cluttered lives. Everyone has an agenda for them—so many needs, so many opportunities, so many meetings, so many telephone calls, so many demands pulling them in so many different ways. Paul was familiar with the complexities involved in a pastor’s calling, but he still insisted on simplicity.

I once read a story in which a man described his venture into carpentry. One sentence hit close to home. He wrote, “I made up for my lack of skill by using a lot of nails.” When I read that I thought, Oh, so that’s what I’m doing—using a lot of nails.

Every pastor needs continuous help keeping down the pastoral clutter. But it’s not enough just to houseclean. Throwing things out and hauling them away is helpful, but it isn’t essential.

The Answer for Pastors and Christians Alike

Paul lived in a fragmented world, but he himself wasn’t fragmented. He lived with clutter all around him, but he himself wasn’t cluttered. The way he uncluttered his life and unified the fragments was to focus on the essentials. And as he concludes his letter to the Ephesians, he shares those essentials with us: God’s Word and prayer.

That’s what gave him focus in a fragmented world, and it’s what will give us focus as well. That’s what uncluttered his life, and it’s what will unclutter ours. 

Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Ephesians 6:13-18, The Message

 For Reflection

How do you apply truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation to your faith life? What makes these more than mere words for you?


You have been reading an insight into Scripture found in The Message Devotional Bible, a special edition filled with reflections and notes from Eugene H. Peterson. This devotional Bible will both comfort and instruct you with insights and encouragement. Read an extended excerpt from the book of John here.

2 thoughts on “Focus in a Fragmented World”

  1. Thanks for a taste of a Christmas gift to myself. I’ve got The Message but a devotional Bible puts it on a whole different level.

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