I love a good steak. Even better? A thick cut of steak covered in Béarnaise sauce. YUM! (I think my cholesterol just jumped from writing that sentence.) Béarnaise consists of egg yolks, butter, lemon juice and seasoning. That’s it. The directions say to “stir constantly,” and of course the sauce needs to be made just before serving. However, my other last minute chores include tossing the salad, filling the water glasses and maybe, just maybe, not burning the bread. So I decide that the “constantly stirring” part of the directions is probably optional. Do you know what happens if you stop stirring Béarnaise sauce when it’s on the stove? You make very, very, VERY buttery scrambled eggs. Not really what I was hoping for on my lovely piece of steak.
My problem? I need to pay attention to what’s important. You may not have this difficulty in your kitchen, but each of us can have problems paying attention to what’s important when things get difficult.
Take cancer. Lots of Christians when diagnosed turn to their faith. They know Jesus is with them, and they even comfort others by telling them Jesus is in control. Staying focused on this throughout their cancer walk is easy, except for the times when they become focused on other things, like:
- “I wonder how much insurance is going to pay?”
- “I can’t believe my sister hasn’t called.”
- “What if I lose my job?”
- “I never should have smoked.”
- “What if the treatment doesn’t work?”
At any time in their cancer walk I could ask them if Jesus is carrying them through their difficulty, and they would say, “yes”. They do not doubt their salvation. They just have moments, days, and more likely nights, when they take their eyes off of what’s important. How can they not? Cancer journeys are filled with unknowns, isolation, frustrations, discomforts, pain and don’t forget the unbelievable fatigue. Each of these is fertile ground for dark thoughts to blossom, and suddenly we are no longer focused on Christ. The more we stay in these dark thoughts, the bigger cancer seems to become in our minds, leaving thoughts of Christ behind. In time, we haven’t lost our faith in Jesus, we’re just not thinking about Him very much. At that point, it’s easy to be concerned that cancer is SO BIG that nothing is bigger.
The apostle Paul knew we would have this struggle to keep our focus on Jesus. That’s why he gave us these directions: “…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1a-2b.
I read that phrase “fix my eyes,” and I think I have to look at Jesus and nothing else. This is true, but the Outline of Bible Usage1 gives us a little more clarity with this definition: to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something. You see we need to not only fix our eyes on Jesus, but we have to intentionally turn our eyes away from other things.
Going back to my béarnaise sauce, I now can see that the water glasses, the salad and the bread can wait, or someone else can take care of them. My job is to stay focused and to constantly stir. Our job when the dark thoughts threaten us is to do as Paul said- fix our eyes on Jesus. AMEN!