Marvin Repinski: When we decide to focus

Published 5:25 pm Friday, March 3, 2023

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“Let him who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches.”   (Galatians 6:6)

We are in a losing game when we lose our focus.

“The sun got in my eyes, said the driver in a collision.”

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The police officer suggested: “Bright light, sunglasses always help.”

“Mine are in the glove compartment. Sorry.”

“Next time a lesson learned will get you on your drive to work!”

“Thanks for your kindness. Ticket?”

“Let’s just blame the sun!”

“Insurance?”  “Yes, all paid up!”

Three suggestions on focus are swimming in my head for attention:


“He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lakeside.  He came to those men who knew him not.  He speaks to us the same word:  ‘Follow thou me!’  and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfill for our time.  He commands.  And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in his fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience who He is.”  (Albert Schweitzer)


A quotation I have gone back to a number of times comes from Martin Luther. It challenges me.  For one thing, my seminary graduation was from Luther Seminary in St. Paul. With Emil Augustine and myself as Methodists, and Bill Hiebert, a Mennonite, we joined a very accepting group of young men and one woman.  As students, we had three years of preparation to eventually pastor churches.  We were consecrated, convened, read, and had graceful dialogue with thoughtful skilled professors.

Now, about a quotation that still stands out. Note choice and priorities.

“The language of Luther’s Small Catechism is deceptively simple.  The Reformer explains the first commandment.  ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.  In these words, ‘We are to fear, love and trust in God above everything else.”

To carry out the commandment is complex, however, because it forces us to choose priorities.  Jesus declared that important. Even sacred commitments can interfere with our primary loyalty to God.  We are capable of turning the family, that fundamental structure of God’s creation in which we are shaped and loved, into a god that replaces God.  These are hard words from our Lord.”

The writer noted that “hard words,” can also be applied to the “hard work” that talented people endure for their victories, and I’m thinking of our local hockey team and high school girls basketball teams. Without focus they are at the bottom. With diligence, their ratings and wins are at the top!

Mind the moment

Time is ambiguous and many-sided. To call it back, impossible. To project it, fearless, (we may think), as a shattered glass. To live our time in the now, with wisdom, learned experience and focus keeps air in the lungs!

Visiting the Mower County Senior Center, I took notice of the card tables. The participants were elderly, but as their hands moved, I sensed there was a spirit of glee.  Is that the proper word?  Maybe it’s humor, laughter, and some “got ya’s.” This is living in the moment and time is enveloping focused people.

“If I can stop one heart from breaking,

I shall not live in vain;

If I can ease one life the aching,

Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain.”

(Emily Dickinson)

Prayer of focused people

“O Lord, we speak to you of our humanness:  We are driven by dreams, hungry for faith, lonely with doubt, a mingling of saint and sinner, free but lost on the way.  Help us to grow.  As our brains grow wiser, make our hearts kinder.  As our arms grow stronger, make our hearts deeper.  As our world grows smaller, make our hearts larger.  As our neighbor grows colder, make our hearts softer.  May we be men and women who bear the weights of responsibility with songs of love and grace, through Christ our Lord.”

With those around us, be examples of satisfying attention!