“O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, do not forget me.” The prayer of General Jacob Astley before the Battle of Edgehill has become famous. It is a true reflection of the pressures of life (much less war). We often get caught up in the bustle and rush of life, and our thoughts are captured by “the immediate,” often at the expense of “the important.” Jesus mentioned this in the parable of the sower: Matthew 13:22 “The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.” While I am not suggesting that if the cares of the world distract us we are necessarily “thorny soil,” but rather that even Christians can fall victim to such distractions.
Distraction has long been a challenge to people of faith. There are several Jewish proverbs, which warn about wandering minds while in prayer or Torah study. One such story draws a bigger perspective of how we should focus on a life of service to God in general: “Rabbi Chaim of Krosno on observing an acrobat balancing on a rope high above the ground. He pointed him out to his disciples and said, ‘If that man would think about the money he would earn with his act, instead of concentrating on his rope, he would surely make a mistake and crash to his death. So, shouldn’t we concentrate on our service to G‑d in the same way?’” In our lives, we often lose the focus on what matters. Let us today, make time for those moments of prayer, study and service.