Think about the man or woman who successfully navigates the business world by working a lot of hours and making a lot of money. Three cars sit in the driveway of their white victorian 6,000 square foot home with a swimming pool in the back and an indoor gym in the basement. Businessweek and the New York Times write numerous accolades in story after story, with quotes from every major businessperson on Walstreet. Our culture demands that this person be envied, respected, and looked up to. Business has been their focus, and they have counted the passes: 13!
The only problem is, our business professional has missed the lives of his children. Children that looked up to their dad or mom with respect and honor, but never felt any love or affection in return. In other words, our business hero comes home with a big number 13 tattooed to his chest, only to find an empty home with the remnants of a moon-walking bear.
Or what about the college student, who is pumped up about the four best years of their life right in front of them. Fall comes, they get involved in a fraternity or sorority, attend every major sporting event, every major party, and every campus ministry meeting. Monday night is ultimate frisbee, then there is Tuesday night Ice, Wednesday night they meet with their college ministry, Thursday night well we all know what to do on Thursday’s in college, Friday night is cookout night at the house, Saturday is the game with all it’s festivities, and Sunday is church and a little bit of rest before the week starts over again.
They could never have imagined college would be this much fun, and they are only three semesters into their college career. If you asked them how many social, athletic, or greek events the have each week they would probably say 13. Their GPA is now a 1.5 but it's only that high thanks to some online classes where notes are allowed. Everything is going well, until they receive a letter explaining their opportunity to bring their grades up elsewhere. With head bowed, and a regretful tone they repeat, “13...13...13” while, packing up their bear costume, and heading home.
Or how about the high school student, who is so excited to be in a relationship with him! She really is living a “Teenage Dream” every weekend, as flowers, movies, and dinners lead to her first experience with true love. You know, the kind of “love” we mean, the kind of love you see in Twilight. The kind of love that makes you realize how incomplete you were before you met him or her.
Anyway, our high-schooler is so excited about her relationship with him, that she gives away everything. Finally, she can be complete by consummating their love. 13 minutes later her life will be changed forever. As her belly starts to grow, so does the regret that Katy Perry promised wouldn’t exist. All she is left with is 13 minutes, while the bear moonwalks it’s way out of her life.
Awareness is good, but only if you are aware of the right things. Being aware of the wrong things can be devastating. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to
be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy, the Devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (niv)Paul tells us over and over again in Corinthians and Galatians, that we can be taken captive by ideas and philosophies. Don’t get caught counting basketballs while missing out on the big picture.
Our enemy is real, deceptive, and distracting. So whether you get distracted by a melody line while internalizing a dangerous message, or whether you allow your job to consume your life, we must all “be self-controlled and alert” “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”