Asbury United Methodist Church
Love - Share - Tell - Serve

February 7, 2018

I think today is a good day to talk about distractions and Steve Jobs.  But, I’ll get around to Steve Jobs later on because there is something more fun to talk about now.

          There is a restaurant down in Key Largo that is a dump.  It’s called Shipwrecks.

          I found Shipwrecks one day when it was late, I’d been at sea all day on a set of dives; and, I was starving half to death.  I got off the boat and saw an old wooden, faded sign with the restaurant’s name on it and walked right over…a wet suit pealed down to my waist.

          I say again, this place was a dump.  There were no walls in the back end and the place looked like it had barely survived numerous hurricanes and the ownership just decided to leave things that way.

          As I said, I was starving.  There were about six seats at the counter and a couple of tables behind me.  About three picnic tables were outside, but since this was an open-air restaurant, outside was a nebulous term.

          In addition, this restaurant was really, really off the beaten path.  You almost had to find it by accident, which is what I did.

          The décor was nonexistent, unless you call raw wood and creosote poles as ambiance.  And, I wondered how on earth this little place stayed in business.

          I wondered right up until that first bite that I took of a blackened grouper sandwich!  I just about feel off my stool!

          The earth moved!  It was undoubtedly the best fish sandwich I had ever tasted in my life.

          And get this, while I was eating, a guy I knew from home walked in and we both had a heart attack at seeing each other 795 miles from here!

          “What are you doing here?” I asked.  He replied as you’d expect, “I am here for the fish sandwich!”  It was surreal!  You had to be there.

          The point in this story is that the only good thing about Shipwrecks, is the fish!  But, oh my goodness, it is fantastic!  They don’t need anything else!

          I go back to Shipwrecks first thing, every trip right after I cross the bridge from the mainland.  I schedule my trips so that I can be there at meal time! 

          I alter my journey just to stop at Shipwrecks and eat fish!  Their fish is that good!

          Here’s the deal…Shipwrecks is not distracted by anything on earth except preparing awesome fish; and, this includes hurricanes and the worry that their precious restaurant and fixtures will get beaten up.  All they do is fish.

          And, this bring me to Steve Jobs.  I read an article about Jobs recently in Inc. Magazine; and, it almost sounded as if Steve was speaking to us from the grave.

          Jobs was discussing how technology had become an extreme distraction to us modern folks; and, if we learned to better manage technology, we could recover forty to sixty percent of the time we squander each day.

          Yes, I know!  That was my first thought too!  

           Jobs had a lot of nerve in saying that!  After all,  he was the instigator of much of this so-called technology that distracts us nowadays. 

           Even so, he had some good ideas for we who are still living, in helping us navigate through the mess that he helped create.

          For starters, he warns of going straight to email as we begin a day.  He accurately described all the tangents and rabbit holes that first-of-the-morning email sends us out on.

          In his words, “You may get sucked into a whirlpool of other’s needs, so do this last.”  He also advised setting cell phones to airplane mode and better yet, installing an app blocker like Freedom.

          Finally, Jobs stated, “Say no to time robbers and yes to time locking.” 

          Good ol’ Steve would have made an excellent fry cook over at Shipwrecks.  To put a finer point on things, say no as many times as is possible to anything that pulls us off our mission.

          And, this brings me to my favorite subject, Jesus.  You may recall that memorable meal at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

          The preacher had come over for Sunday dinner.  Martha was having a stroke.  In my mind, I see her cleaning the house to beat the band.

          I see Martha fretting over dinner, being distracted over appearances and fixtures.  She was literally wringing her hands.  We know this because the Bible says, “But Marthawas distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me (Luke 10:40 RSV).”

          I get it!  I really do!  Even our culture demands that we put our best foot forward when entertaining guests.

          But, hindsight being twenty-twenty vision and all that, I would not have wanted to squander one single second in the presence of Jesus.  Knowing what I know now, the world could have blown away and my focus would not have been distracted one iota.

          But, that’s the rub, isn’t it?  Knowing what I know now!

          We can’t know what we did not know.  We never could have or should have.  We can never could have or should have because nobody can go back in time.

          Distractions!  They are countless!  There will never be an end to the things that scream for time throughout any given day.

          Knowing what I know now, I would have turned off that cell phone.  Knowing what I know now, I would have given my dad more focus.

          Knowing what I know now, I would not have spent so much time away from my children working.  “Well, I did it all for them!”  Yeah…just keep on believing that lie.

          Today is a good day to focus, but not in a chastising way.  Jobs went on to say, “People think focus means saying yes to that (main) thing you’ve got to focus on.  But, that’s not what you have to do at all.  It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that are (out) there.”

          Jobs didn’t say this but I do…lots of ideas look good at first on paper.  (What was I thinking?)  

         The Lord has given us 86,400 seconds today.  How do we want to dole them out?

          Why not choose to spend this allowance of time in ways that bless us and build us up?  This is most certainly the Way that Jesus is leading us.

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