Recently, the Lord started talking to me about “distractions”, and instructed me to preach on it. I made a tape and CD of it, and part of the impact of it was lost if you weren’t there to see it. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to make a DVD of it. You just had to be there to get the full effect. But I’ll tell you what the Lord had me use as an illustration. It was powerful, too. I scattered dollar bills from the pulpit all the way to the door. During the worship service, people were wondering why all the money was laying on the floor. During the lead-up to my introduction, I noticed people were paying more attention to the dollars laying on the floor, than to the Pastor. So, when I started preaching, I started out on the subject of the love of money and how many things distract God’s people from the work He has set out before them. About 30 seconds into my teaching, I left the pulpit to walk a few steps to pick up a dollar, and returned to the pulpit to resume. Of course, each dollar was a little farther from the pulpit, and for emphasis, I’d make a remark about how we need to keep our focus on God, then excuse myself to go after another dollar. And then I’d return to the pulpit and pretend I’d lost my place by the distraction. Then I’d get started again and spot another dollar and go after it, returning to pick up where I left off.

This went on for several minutes back and forth, never seeming to get anywhere with the work the Lord sent me to do, which was to preach the Gospel. Why? because I was distracted by the money. The last one I left the pulpit to pick up was about halfway to the door. I walked over there and reached down and picked up the dollar, then looked at all the rest of them leading to and out of the door. Then I looked back at the pulpit, seeming unable to make up my mind which to choose. Should I go for the work of God, or go for the money? After all, we all need money to pay the bills, right? Then I made my point; far too many anointed men and women of God never go into the ministry they are called to do because the pull of making money in the world draws their heart from God. And some who do enter the ministry don’t stay, because of the lack of finances.

Churches! Take better care of your Pastor! Still others crash and burn because of, believe it or not, too MUCH money makes their heart wax cold to God. They’re more concerned about their multiple homes, jets, boats, and cars, than winning souls for Jesus. There’s nothing that hurts my heart more than hearing people say, I know I’m called to preach the Gospel, but I have bills to pay, and a family to support. I can’t go, who will take care of things? I have such and such to take care of, and everybody is depending on me. Well, excuse me, are you the savior of the world, that the world can’t go on without you if you get off the merry-go-round to obey the Lord? Can you imagine this conversation between the heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus?

Hey, Jesus, wow, I should have checked out Joe’s situation a little better before I called him into the ministry. I didn’t know he had a wife and kids and a house and bills…..what do I do now??

Let me tell you how the Lord used that sorry excuse in my own life. One day I perceived the Lord asking me, “Jerry, what did I tell my disciples when I called them?” I replied, “Follow me!” He said, “To which of my disciples did I say, Follow me after you get off work?” Hmmmmm…..He had me good there. So…..I had to make a choice, remain a business man, or be a full time minister. Was it an easy choice? No. But it was the only right choice. And in case you’re wondering, God will not grab you by the scruff of the neck and drag you away from whatever you’re doing now. You have to choose to follow Him, just like the disciples did. Same God, different day.

Tell me, you who call upon the Lord, would you be satisfied to have a part-time God? So then why would you think a full-time God would be satisfied with part-time servants? You Pastors out there who are working a “second job”, listen up. That precious flock God has assigned you to IS your job. Those people are not your source of income. But they are your responsibility to care for. Who do you think is waiting to destroy them when you’re not paying attention? You have two guesses. When God calls you to do His work, He becomes responsible to take care of you and your family. Don’t you think Peter had a wife and family?  Was he concerned about them, in light of his calling?  You bet. Let’s look at Mark 10:28-30,

Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.  And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,  But he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

We can look at another example in Luke 5:27-28,  And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me.

 And he left all, rose up, and followed him.

 Levi was so pleased to be given the honor of being a disciple of Jesus that it says he just left it all and followed Jesus. I don’t even see where he have his employer the take of the day or served his two week notice. Is this an extreme example? Yes it is, but whose calling is the most important? God’s or man’s. I’ll let you go figure that one out.

So I guess it really boils down to this, what drives your life? Pleasing God, or pleasing yourself? Hard word, but those who have ears to hear, let them hear. I know full well it takes money to make the gears turn, to pay for food, clothes, housing, transportation, utilities, oh yes, and taxes. Let’s not forget taxes. I remember what Jesus said, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s. How does that apply to this letter? If God has called you to His work, don’t let the distractions of life cost you your reward! Because if you do, I promise, one day you will stand before the Lord and give account, and He will show you what you missed out on, and you will beg and plead for another chance. But it will be too late. Your only chance is NOW, my beloved friend. The coming of the Lord draws near every hour, and the fields are indeed white for the harvest! Just look at the prophecies and look at world events! He’s coming soon. Stop making excuses to God. Some of you have been making excuses for so long, you have almost believe them to be valid! But the devil is deceiving you.

I hear so many heart breaking stories of how neglecting to follow the leading of God has brought sorrow and destruction into believer’s lives. Some have married unbelievers, and opened themselves up to many sorrows, becoming “unequally yoked”, having been distracted from the will of God by the pull of the flesh. Oh, the “package” looked good on the outside, but the contents were rotten. Now they’re wondering how they can ever get back to serving God again. Some have left good churches where God was using them mightily, in order to take a job “promotion” in another city, rendering them ineffective for God’s purposes. And now they’re miserable.

Others have put God off, waiting to “go preach the Gospel” after they get their home paid off, or their bills paid off, or their kids through college, or whatever. The devil will talk you into putting God off, don’t you know? He will always tell you “Someday”, but really, “someday” in his book is “never”. He will see to it that you always have another excuse not to follow God like the early disciples did. And the excuses you can come up with almost sound convincing. Almost. But it’s not me you have to please in the end. It’s God. Ever wonder why Christians are so powerless today? It’s because of the amount of time they devote to serving God, or rather the lack thereof.

Jesus gave an awesome example of distractions in the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:18-23;

Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.  But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.  He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some a hundredfold some sixty, some thirty.
It takes determination and focus to be fruitful for God, and not to be continually distracted from seeking Him. I have to deal with it daily, and I know you do, too. Something needs fixed, a vehicle needs repair or maintenance, or perhaps a computer is giving trouble, or something in the house needs attention. Seems it’s always something trying to get my attention away from God. So don’t think it’s only you dealing with that. It goes with the territory, so to speak.

But determine today to be able to say to the Lord, I will have no other God before You. Whenever You call me, I will obey quickly with no excuses. Lord, with Your help today, I will not be distracted from giving You my full attention. For You deserve nothing less from me!