Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Focusing on the goal

When I was in Junior High, my aunt taught me to play solitaire as we sat in the waiting room of the hospital in Beckley. My grandmother was in the cardiac care unit, and we spent a lot of time, just waiting. I think she was tired of watching me wind embroidery floss onto cards, so she taught me solitaire.

As an only child, it was a handy game to have available. As I grew older, I started playing it on the computer, and now, when I have waiting time and nothing to do (which isn't very often -- I almost always have something I need to do), I'll pull out my iPhone and play the game.

If you have played solitaire, you know the object of the game is move all of the cards up to the stacks of four -- each stack starting with an ace and working its way through the suit up to the king. There are seven stacks of cards in the playing area, and one moves the cards in the stacks so that they are organized from high card to low card, alternating color of card (black and red). By moving the cards around in these lower stacks, one frees the cards to enable their movement to the goal.

I've noticed as I play that I concentrate on the lower stacks of cards, moving the cards around and creating the long alternating rows of cards. I get distracted by this, forgetting that I'm really trying to move the cards UP to the stacks at the top. The lower stacks are just tools to accomplish the real goal.

Do we ever get stuck in the idea of accomplishing the tool -- the means -- rather than focusing on the real goal? Do we think our job is to increase the size of our churches rather than introduce people to Christ? Do we think we really need to get as many kids to vacation Bible school as we can rather than attract them to learning about God? Do we know what the real goal is? Or do we just stack cards?



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