Today as I was listening to a weather reporter on CNN describe what is happening with tropical storm Ernesto as it heads toward south Florida, I heard something that immediately caught my attention. Apparently, the more organized the storm becomes as it moves over the warm ocean water, the more dangerous and powerful it becomes. As long as the storm system is interrupted by a land mass or is buffeted by crosswinds so that it never really has a chance to organize itself, it will not be able to get up to full strength. The more I thought about this interesting weather fact, the more it occurred to me that this is not just true of tropical storms and hurricanes, but the same principle applies to life in general and the Christian life in particular.
I am not thinking about mere corporate-type organizational structures; even though we are supposed to do everything in a fitting and orderly way (1 Corinthians 14:40). When I think about a properly organized Christian life I think about a life that is centered in Jesus Christ. This is where the power lies and this is when we become "dangerous" in terms of the kingdom of darkness.
When we are distracted by other things we are not as effective as we could be because our energies are divided. As Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Money" (Matthew 6:24).
When I think of someone who was devoted to the Lord Jesus in an exemplary way, I think of the great apostle Paul. To God's holy people in Philippi he wrote: "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body" (1:21-24). This explains why Paul was so powerful and did so much good for the kingdom of God.
Without in any way wanting to minimize the destructive forces of tropical storms and hurricanes and the damage they can inflict on persons and property, we can still learn valuable lessons about how we can be effective for good and for God. We need to ask ourselves if we can really say: "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain!" For this kind of single-minded focus cannot help but shape our lives and thrust us forth into the harvest going on around us.