At one time or another in our lives, most of us become preoccupied by something, whether it’s a problem, a goal, a desire, a relationship, or any number of other things. We can spend so much time and emotional energy on this “thing” that we lose sight of whatever else is going on around us, or the consequences of our priorities. If we’re not careful, we can cross the line of obsession, compulsion, or addiction. It could be a noble or innocent pastime or interest, but when it begins to consume us, we need to take a step back.
Our choices about where we invest our energy and attention may affect, for example:
- how much attention we give to family members and friends
- how willing we are to volunteer when our talents and gifts are needed
- what we spend our money on
- our stress levels
- our health
- our attitudes
- how much time we spend in prayer and reading the Bible
- our spiritual and emotional well-being
Perhaps the problem is that we don’t stop to think about whether our current priorities will matter in eternity—or even in the long term here on earth. We may be accustomed to seeking instant gratification instead of investing our time, talents, energy, and resources into people and opportunities that please God, bless others and, as a result, bring us true joy—not just pleasure—as well.
We may find it easy, even justifiable, to hold grudges or withhold love when someone has upset us, or to feel grumpy when life gets tough, because we’re focused on how we feel right now, rather than on God’s promises and how we can trust Him with both the present and the future if we commit them to Him.
Jesus advised us: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).
He knows the temporary pleasures or problems of life have little impact on our long-term joy and blessings, which is why He reminded us that we need to pay attention to the things that really matter—now, five years from now, on our deathbeds and in eternity.
What are you preoccupied with right now? Will it stand the test of time?