Obscured vision can keep us from some of life’s most simplest pleasures. As someone who suffers from chronic migraine headaches, there are times where my eyes cannot focus. While others may not know, except for when I grab my bifocals, I do. For me, it becomes difficult to even do the simplest of tasks when I face those moments of having obscured vision. Obscured vision is simply having something, such as a health condition or physical object, that acts as a barrier that keeps us from focusing on a target.
Obscured vision comes from a lack of focus
Within our Christian faith we can also develop obscured vision when we shift our focus away from the things of the Lord. I’m reminded of the verse, No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (Luke 16:13). Jesus, in speaking with his disciples, was telling them that either they could follow after Him or follow after the world, but not to do both. Through the scriptures, He calls upon us to do the same thing; as long as our loyalties are divided between this world and following after Jesus, we will always have obscured vision. Paul understood this and wrote, Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier (2 Timothy 2:3-4). He was providing Timothy, and us, with the most important advice to support clear vision – to stay firmly focused on Jesus and the work He has called us to do. He knew that Timothy, or any Christian, would not be effective for Jesus if there were other distractions in his (or our) life.
We live in a world that has an abundance of distractions that can easily give us obscured vision. It is easy to become distracted by a favorite television show, a hobby, and other things that keeps us from focusing on things that strengthen our walk with the Lord. It is easy to become distracted and develop obscured vision when we know we need to read the Bible, spend time in prayer, or share the gospel with others. I think of this passage of scripture: And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:57-62).
In the case of the first man, Jesus was warning him that if he was to follow Jesus he wouldn’t have a home in the traditional sense. For many people, and it is no different two thousand years ago than it is today, where they live is decided upon two main factors: where they grew up or where the extended family lives. Please do not underestimate the power of this – when I was in the service I saw a number of marriages end when the spouse would refuse to move to where the Army was sending the wife/husband. For some people, the familiarity and need to have family nearby overrides all else – including the willingness to follow Jesus. The second man wanted to follow but stated he had a family obligation – to go bury his father. Contrast this with Abraham and the testimony that is preserved within the Bible: And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice (Genesis 22:15-18). It is not that God wants us to forsake our family obligations, but that He wants us to place our family – the ones whom we love – in His hands and simply serve Him. This is exactly what Abraham did. He was determined to fulfill the ultimate sacrifice – the offering of his son – as requested by the Lord. Our desire to follow the Lord should be so strong that we trust Him completely with our family and loved ones. (1)
The third man told Jesus he wanted to go home and tell those there that he was going to follow Jesus. He responds by telling them, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. It wasn’t that the Lord didn’t want this man to bid farewell to his family and friends, but this man was placing that desire above all else, including his following after the Lord. This man didn’t want to postpone his following Jesus for the sake of saying goodbye; he wanted one last day living within his old lifestyle.
In all three of these men and the lessons as taught by Jesus, He is using these three specific sets of circumstances to warn us about losing our focus on Him. In each case, the Lord is teaching us that if it comes to the choice of where to live or following Jesus, our obvious choice is to follow Him. Missionaries, pastors, and other Christians have answered that call and have moved to locations far from home and although they miss their families and friends, their devotion to Jesus and the desire to answer His call overrides every other concern. He must come first in every aspect of our life; He must come before our family, where we live, what occupation we have, even what our hobbies and recreational activities are. If we want proper perspective in our life’s journey, we must stay firmly affixed to Jesus and not the convenient distractions of this world.
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