Keeping our eyes on the prize

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
After writing a recent column on Christians that hurt the faith with their bad behavior, a dear friend of mine sent me this illustration, which is good and to the point. I am praying that someone will read these two columns and realize that the behavior they exhibit at home, on the job, in the neighborhood, and other places, brings a critical eye to the church they claim to love.

A man went to the pastor of his church and said, “I won’t be attending Church anymore.” The concerned pastor said, “May I ask you why?”

The member then said, “I see people on their cell phones texting and typing during the service, some are gossiping, some just aren’t living right, some are sleeping, some are staring at me, and I believe they are all pretty much just hypocrites.”

The pastor was silent. Then he said, “Can I ask you to do something for me before you make your final decision?” The member said, “Sure, what is that?”

The pastor then said, “Take a glass of water and walk around the church two times and be certain that you don’t let any water spill out of the glass.” The member said after a moment of thought, “Yes I can do that.” He went and got the glass of water and walked around the church two times. He came back and said proudly, “It’s done.”

The pastor asked him these questions; “Did you see anybody on their phone?; Did you see anybody gossiping?; Was anybody living wrong?; Did you see anyone sleeping?” The member answered, “I didn’t see anything because I was so focused on this glass, so the water wouldn’t spill out.”

The wise pastor then shared, “When you come to church, you should be just that focused on God, so that you don’t fall. That’s why Jesus said, ‘Follow Me,’ He did not say. ‘Follow them.'”

As Christians working with other believers, and yes, even those that do not live well outside of the church, we must learn to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. Our thoughts and our actions must be toward pleasing him. It is difficult to not let the actions and bad behavior of others influence us. We can become discouraged, defeated, and disinterested if we allow our hearts and minds to continually focus on people, including the pastor and staff members. We must walk with God and keep our eyes on him. It makes the difference in a vibrant relationship with him or one that is mediocre, dull, and famishing.

We must not allow our relationship with God be determined by how others relate to God or how well they serve him. Let our testimony of faith be determined by how focused we are on God.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788, or


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