However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. – Acts 20:24
A few years ago I took a group of very eager girls to Children’s Hunger Fund where we were assigned the monotonous task of bagging beans. For those of you who have not experienced the joy of bean bagging, allow me to paint you a picture: Volunteers scoop beans from a barrel into a plastic bag and then weigh the bag and then tie the bag closed. Rinse. Repeat. After about an hour of this, a CHF employee called out that it was time for a snack break. He put out a cardboard box filled with bags of potato chips and all the volunteers headed over to munch and rest. All the volunteers except one. One of our 11 year olds just kept scooping, weighing and tying. I stopped in my trek towards the Baked Lays and went back to her. “You can take a break, Sarah.” I said. Sarah responded kindly but firmly: “This food is for people who have nothing. I’m not stopping to feed myself a snack!” She then shook her head and kept working.
Lately I have been reflecting on this event a lot. I have been thinking about how committed Sarah was to her work at the Hunger Fund and thinking about my own life and how easily I get distracted from the work God has given me. Television distracts me. The desire for sleep distracts me. Mindless internet browsing distracts me. Every day we are inundated with hundreds of potential distractions and we are forced to decide whether or not they are worth our time. Usually they are not. Paul believed nothing was more important than fulfilling the mission given to him by God – the mission of sharing the Gospel. Paul refused to be distracted from that task even when threatened, imprisoned or beaten. His commitment to God’s call in his life was unrelenting and because of that, he was able to share God’s grace with countless people. Great amounts of fruit can be produced when we are truly committed to working for the Lord. Sarah bagged more beans than anyone else that day. She fed more people than anyone else in the warehouse that day. Because she refused to be distracted, she produced greater fruit (or, in this case, beans). This Lenten season and beyond, in order to do the work God has set before me, I realize that I must actively say NO to the cheap and yet time consuming activities that distract me. I must pull a Sarah, shake my head and just keep working.