I try to read a variety of books and every now and then I try to read something to help me be a little more focused or productive. I still highly value Tim Challies book, Do More Better. It is simple and he gives some very practical direction. I recommend reading it regarding productivity with a Christian perspective.
Recently I read The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. It is not written with a Christian perspective but more of a business book on executing that one thing well. The theme of the book is to focus on the one thing that we are doing and do it well, focus on it, and guard from being distracted to divert from it.
I could not help but revert to what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians about himself. We don’t get a lot of pre-Paul before he was a Christian other than he was zealous in stopping The Way. He wrote this background about himself and about his purpose in life, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:12-14).
What’s the Christians One Thing?
The Apostle Paul points to his one thing that really is summary of the Christian life.
The Christian doesn’t have to figure out what their One Thing is. We are told. It is Jesus Christ. Paul says, “But this one thing I do…” This is him showing what his motivation is, what his purpose is, what gets him up at night, what he guards with his time, what he says yes to and what he says no to.
This is also not limited that The One Thing that a Christian does is meant for the pastor or the evangelist. This one thing that Paul desired was to make Jesus Christ known. The Christian can be, is encouraged to be, creative in this endeavor. The Christian can work in a secular business and still be about The One Thing- Jesus Christ. Their work becomes more than a job, it becomes an opportunity to share the gospel.
The Christian looks at their house not just as a home, or shelter. It is an opportunity to live out the One Thing- Jesus Christ among their neighbors.
The Christian looks at their community based on God placing them there and a place to love their neighbor because of their One Thing- Jesus Christ and to make him known.
The Straining Towards This One Thing
Paul uses this language of stringing towards the goal. It is like a runner leaning in, straining to cross the finish-line. They are all about it at that moment. The Christian is all about this one thing.
There are many distractions out there, there are many other things that can cause the Christian to lose focus.
Paul’s language points to the priority of the gospel regardless of other things.
Did you lose gospel focus in 2022?
I am so thankful that God’s mercies are new each morning (Lam 3:22-23). He is gracious and forgiving. When you think much of the gospel it is our motivation to go forward. Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us, so that we would be counted the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21). Knowing what Jesus did on our behalf is what we need to as we strain towards the goal each day.
Think much of the gospel in 2023!