My family and I are huge Pixar fans. Some of my kids’ first movies were Pixar films and one of our favorites is the movie “UP”. If you haven’t watched it, you need to put it on your “must watch” list. The main character in the movie is a man named Carl. The movie begins with a montage of his life. How as a young boy he met this adventurous little girl named Ellie and how they eventually married and navigated through life.
The main part of the movie, however, takes place late in Carl’s life, after his wife died. As an old man he seeks to live out a dream the two of them never got to experience. Along the way, he encounters some amazing characters that help him on this journey. A boy scout named Russell and a dog named Dug.
The dog, Dug, is a favorite character of many. And because of a special mechanism on his collar that translates for him, he is actually able to talk to humans. One of the things that have endeared people to Dug is his short attention span. In the movie, he will be telling Carl and Russell something and then all the sudden shout, “squirrel” and look in a different direction. It’s one of those lines my family quotes often when any of us get distracted—“Squirrel!”
Maybe you can relate. We all get distracted at times. We all have those moments like Dug where a “squirrel” can distract us or throw off our thoughts. But the question is: Do we then follow the “squirrel” or do we bring ourselves back to what our focus should be?
I was recently at a meeting with other pastors and this was part of our conversation. It feels like these past two years we’ve done a good job of following the “squirrels” and a not so good job of getting our focus back to what’s important. We’ve allowed the distractions to become our focus instead of focusing on what’s most important.
Most of us are familiar with the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible. Jesus had come to visit and Martha was focused on getting the meal ready and doing the stuff that she felt needed to be done, while Mary simply sat at the feet of Jesus. This upset Martha so she complained to Jesus about Mary, asking Him to tell Mary to help her.
She didn’t get the answer she wanted though. Listen to Jesus’ response found in Luke 10:41-42: “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Something we need to understand is that the things Martha was doing weren’t bad. They just weren’t as important at the time. We all struggle with the distractions that keep us from doing what’s most important. And these last two years have kept a lot of us from doing what’s most important—loving God and loving people to see His Kingdom extended. We can’t let those “squirrels” take our focus off what’s most important!