Magnum, P.I., a television series in which Tom Selleck provides private security at a wealthy Hawaiian estate. Additional security measures at the estate include two guard dogs. Two nasty, slavering, hungry guard dogs. Doberman Pinschers. Named Zeus and Apollo.
In the pilot episode, one of Magnum's initial security tests is to see if he can steal the estate's Ferrari. As he attempts quickly to pick the lock, the ever vigilant Zeus and Apollo are seen in the background, rapidly sprinting around the corner, intent on eating Magnum alive. Magnum forces himself to focus on the task at hand (breaking into the Ferrari) by murmuring to himself,
"Don't look at the dogs; work the lock.
Work the lock. Work the lock!
Don't look at the dogs!"
You can watch the clip here:
At the last moment, however, unable to resist the lure of temptation, Magnum glances at the snarling dogs racing toward him.
Whew! That was close!
Think about it. How often have WE done that? Has this ever happened to you?
(No, no, no. Not breaking into a Ferrari in Hawaii while being chased by Dobermans. ...well, I don't know, maybe Heather?)
Have you ever been focusing so intently on a task that God has given you, but then, in spite of your absolute best determination to stay focused, you take your eye off your purpose. You let your glance slide away, just for a second.
Only a second.
You look at the dogs.
Ever heard of the Hounds of Hell?
When God has given you a purpose, a task, a job, an assignment, no matter how small or how large, Satan would love nothing more than for you to loose your focus, stumble off track, and subsequently (yay, Satan!) abandon God's task altogether.
Look at the dogs, the deceiver says.
Go ahead, glance at them.
Just for a minute.
Take your eyes off your task and look.
Now you are focused on the horrible prospects threatening your success.
Have you ever done this? Allowed negativity, nay-sayers, and challenges to dissuade you from staying the course and trusting resolutely in God's will?
Sometimes, in the face of everyday challenges or overwhelming odds (the rapidly approaching dogs), we have to remind ourselves to remain on task, to stay the course, and to renew our determination to fill our vision with God's will, not ours, nor the obstacles to fulfilling His.
We have to remember to work the lock. Don't look at the dogs.
Work the lock.
Stay on task.
Remain focused on God's will.
Don't look at the dogs.
Don't panic at your own limitations.
Don't let your focus slip from seeking God's will to worrying about your own inability to fulfill it.
My dear friend has a plaque in her house, which reads,
"God doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies the called."
You can do this.
God. Picked. You!
He is here for you.
Focus. On. Him.
Remember Peter, when he saw the Lord walking on water during the storm on the Sea of Galilee? He asked the Lord to call to him, to prove His Presence by enabling Peter to walk to Him across the water.
And he did it! Peter walked on water!
For a minute.
But then, Peter took his eyes off of Jesus. He took his eyes off his task, his goal, his Lord. He looked at the dogs. Peter glanced down at the roiling water, let the Lord slide out of his field of vision, and suddenly could remember nothing greater than his 3rd Grade science lesson about buoyancy and density and will it sink or float.
Then, Peter began to sink.
Fortunately, Christ was there to save him. Christ stretched out His hand (when Peter called to Him, but that's a post for another day) and grasped Peter's hand and hauled the panicked fisherman back to safety.
Christ is here to save you, too.
In any instance.
He is here even in the worst storms of life, stretching out His hand to you, to keep you focused, on task, with your eyes on Him.
I'm not saying be oblivious and don't consider all reasonable aspects of accomplishing something God has put before you.
am saying it does you no good to stray from His way and scatter your focus to stare instead in horrified
fascination at the theoretical Doberman Pinschers gnashing their
teeth and threatening to tear you apart.
Because if you do, they will.
Focus. On. Him.
He is stretching out His hand to you!
Because He loves you.
He loves you so much that He made you in His own image and likeness to know, love, and serve Him in this world and be happy with Him forever in Heaven.
And THAT's what it's all about!
So, the next time you have a task at hand (to work the lock), and you suddenly are faced with seemingly insurmountable odds (don't look at the dogs), remain resolute and focus on the task at hand. Do not be distracted. Seek God's will. Call out to Him! And you will find that you ARE strong enough, quick enough, clever enough, and able enough to elude perceived threats and ultimately leap for joy in the success of God's plan for you and the surety of Heaven.
Believe me. It'll be even better than a Ferrari!