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Distracted living

By now, most everyone has heard the story of Northwest Airlines Flight 188. It was flying from San Diego to Minneapolis. Everything was normal about the flight except that it went about 150 miles past its destination. Air traffic controllers were unable to make radio contact with the crew for over an hour, Northwest tried sending a radio text message that chimed, and other pilots in the vicinity tried contacting the crew. Nothing worked. Fighter jets were readied to intercept the plane. Fortunately it didn’t come to that as a flight attendant noticed they had overshot their destination and notified the pilots who turned the plane around.

Initially, the pilots said they were involved in an intense discussion over airline policy. Later at the official hearing, they said they both had their laptops out (in violation of airline policy), and were going over their flight schedules (something complicated by the recent merger of Northwest with Delta). Many voiced concern about fatigue and/or sleep being the cause. One politician may have come closest to the mark when she spoke of the incident as "distracted flying."

Traveling five hundred miles per hour, six miles above the ground, with one hundred and forty-four passengers entrusted to them and they were trying to figure out their schedules! Why weren’t they focused on the job they were being paid to do --- safely transporting 144 people? But before our judgment gets locked into overdrive, we would do well to ask ourselves if we haven’t been guilty of living distracted.

As Christians we’re to seek first God’s reign in our lives (Matthew 6:33), which involves loving God and others (Matthew 22:36-40). Like the pilots, most of us have received quite a bit of instruction and training on how to do this. Refresher classes are available a couple of times a week to keep us tuned up. There’s usually a substantial community of others who share our faith and are committed to the same things we are. Yet for all of that, who among us hasn’t found themselves immersed in activities to the point that we end up like Martha and seem to miss the good part? We get so busy banging pots and pans (or laptops) of the momentary, that we miss the eternal, overarching aspect of it all. We become Pharisees of busyness rather than disciples of Jesus. Then someone interrupts it all with a knock on our door to let us know we’re miles of course. We’re shocked to our senses and don’t understand how we drifted so far.

No one was busier than Jesus but no one lived with a greater sense of balance and connection to God and others. He had tremendous demands placed upon Him and His time but He never lost sight of why He did what He did.

If you have several objects that need to go into a container, the best (and sometimes only)way to get them all in is to take the largest object and put it in first. Then fit everything else around that object. If you put the smaller items in first, there may not be room for the largest item. In the same way, Jesus placed a priority of His relationship with His father (Mark 1:35). Everything else He did (v. 38), was rooted in that relationship. This really isn’t hard to understand, but it is difficult to consistently practice. It takes discipline. The kind of discipline and focus you need to pilot a plane . . . or a life.

Seeking the kingdom first begins with staying in touch with the King!  Say "no" to distracted living.
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