PREOCCUPATION - INDIFFERENCE.

Soccer matches. School plays. Hunting and fishing. Hobbies. Home remodeling. Community orchestra. Sightseeing trips. Grandkids. Gardening. Exercise. Weight loss. Book clubs. These and a thousand other extra-curricular activities keep us all too busy. Most people have no choice about having to work at an occupation. But it’s the discretionary things we overload our lives with that lead to pre-occupation.

Busy-ness is bad enough for how we let it steal away our family time and personal peace. However, the more serious problem is the underlying indifference toward eternally important things that allows the preoccupation.

Scripture tells us clearly what should occupy our attention and efforts: the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). If only we could do this we would discover the amazing promise tied to this priority, namely this: everything else we worry about that captures our attention would work out. Or as Jesus put it, "All these things will be given to you as well."

It is fundamentally our lack of faith in this promise (red-letter words from Jesus Himself) that leads to the problem of preoccupation and indifference.

Reconnect with some verses that clarify what it means to seek God's kingdom and righteousness, and be prepared to make your confession.

(2 Peter 1:5) Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

Think of some things you make more effort to think about, accomplish or attempt to possess than the character qualities listed above. Confess that to the Lord.

(Philippians 4:8) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

More than half the battle to live the Christian life involves what goes on in our minds. We must care deeply to "take every thought to make it obedience to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5) and to "set your minds on things above, not earthly things” (Colossians 3:2). But this is a battle we often lose simply because we don't care enough to drag our attention away from lesser and incorrect thoughts and keep our minds occupied with the true, right, pure and admirable things. Ask the Lord to help you locate an example of that problem in your life and confess it now.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan presents us with a familiar lesson about Jesus’ command to love our neighbors. He presents the compassion of the Samaritan for the story’s victim in contrast with the indifference of two other travelers. We might like to think we would not have been indifferent to his need. But that all depends on whether we would have even noticed him.

Had Jesus crafted a parable for our day, He might have changed it’s focus to a kind of indifference that is more subtle: the indifference that comes from being so preoccupied with “our stuff” we don’t even notice the needs around us. Scripture says:

(Matthew 4:35) I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.

Are you and your church so engrossed in “your stuff” you may not even be noticing the needs around you? Confess that.