Recently, we took our family back to Australia for a long overdue visit. Several years had passed since our last sojourn down under, and we wanted to reconnect with family and friends, as well as introduce our Aussie people to our new daughter-in-law, Bella. Bella was excited (as well as a little nervous) to meet everyone; but she was also very keen to see some of the Australian wildlife. In particular, she was eager to see a koala.
We arrived at my parent’s house on the Gold Coast just after dark on a Sunday evening. We were enjoying the reunion with my siblings and their children, when someone called to Bella from outside. My parent’s home is built on the side of a hill that backs onto the Australian bush, and the treetops are almost within reach from the balcony. Someone had spotted a Koala in one of the trees outside. Bella (and the rest of us) went running to see. We all stood on the balcony, squinting into the darkness, trying to catch a glimpse. The Koala was well hidden—until my Dad shone a spotlight into the trees, illuminating the animal in a shaft of light. We were transfixed! The light revealed a baby koala, crawling along the branches of the gum tree. For almost 20 minutes we watched the little guy feeding and foraging in his natural environment, enjoying the impromptu show in the back yard.
There are many ‘God’ moments in business and life that I miss because my attention is elsewhere. I focus on what is right in front of me, and I don’t see what’s happening just outside of my field of vision. Someone might call to me, and say “Hey! Come look! See what God just did over here…!” I might take a cursory glance, occasionally, but unless I intentionally take my eyes off what I am currently doing, and deliberately turn my attention towards what I am being called to see, I miss the spectacle.
Philippians 2:1 is an attempt by the apostle Paul to draw our attention to what is happening just outside of our field of vision. “Look at how much encouragement you’ve found in your relationship with the Anointed One! You are filled to overflowing with His comforting love. You have experienced a deepening friendship with the Holy Spirit and have felt His tender affection and mercy.” (The Passion Translation)
I read this the other morning and my attention was grabbed in a new way. Paul said “Look!” and I allowed myself the privilege of actually looking. Instead of spending my time focusing on how difficult this business situation is, or how complicated that relationship had become, I stopped looking at the thing I was looking at in order to switch my gaze toward the thing that was most worth looking at….
Do you take the time to focus on how much God loves you? Do you take the time to focus on how encouraged you are in His love? (When was the last time that happened, anyway?) Do you take notice of His comfort, His tender affection and His mercy? Or—are you distracted by other things?
I went about my day with a new thought in my mind: Today I want to take notice of where You are, Lord. I want to take notice of what You are doing. I want to catch myself turning my attention toward You, taking particular notice of You, and deliberately and consciously being aware of Your presence in every situation.
Like the baby koala in the tree, some things are really worth the time and effort to notice!
Julie Appleyard has been involved in Christian Leadership across the world for over 20 years that has included two church plants, as well as turning a small church around to be a community impacting church. While still remaining co-founding Pastor of Crossroads Church just outside of Charlotte North Carolina, Julie, along with her husband Mark, now also serve as founders of Anothen–a Senior Executive Consulting network. Anothen has been activated to fine tune Kingdom business leaders to think, speak and live from heaven’s perspective–to help them become the most influential spiritual leaders in the world. Anothen is gaining amazing momentum, and in just seven months has gone from inception to being active daily in seven US states as well as eight nations. With three kids aged 21, 19 and 16 Mark and Julie Appleyard have dedicated their lives to bringing a nations inheritance to King Jesus by activating Kingdom people to Think, Speak, Live like heaven!