Setting Fence Posts and Staying Focused

“Twenty-five dollars a day, from sun up to sun down” was what Larry, our youth leader, offered to pay us for working on his farm back in the 80’s. I had quit my job at Harvey’s grocery store at the beginning of my senior year in order to be able to go to youth group more at church and enjoy my senior year at school. I had the feeling I was only going to have one senior year to enjoy in life and my grades, believe it or not, helped me to turn that feeling into a reality. I had my ten year old, 1972 Orange VW Bug, paid for and felt all I needed was a little gas and spending money. Gas was only $1.30 a gallon and I felt good about working on that Mitchell County Georgia farm on the weekends.

The interesting thing about working out on this farm was that I never knew what I was going to be doing on any given day. One day I showed up for work and Larry informed me that I was going to be digging holes and setting posts for a barbed wired fence across a field. When he dropped me off, it seemed more like I was out in the middle of the desert than a field.

Now Larry had a way of always calling you son and if he said something like. “Son, I’m only going to tell you this once…” you had better listen up. He proceeded to tell me how deep he wanted each hole. He marked the posthole diggers for me. Then he told me how many feet he wanted each post to be apart. Then Larry said something to the effect, “Son, listen to me, you see that tree over there?” The tree was about a mile away but I could see it in the distance. It helped that it stood out in the line of trees. Larry continued, “Every time you step off your distance between posts, walk directly towards that tree. Don’t get it mixed up with any other tree.” That was it; his blue little Toyota pickup truck took off in a cloud of dust. I got the posthole diggers and went to work out in the middle of nowhere. After each hole I found my tree and walked off my steps.

My point of focus ultimately determine the quality of my work and the practicality of it that day. I find that what or whom we focus on in life has the same effects. This is why the Bible tells us, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  (Hebrews 12:2). Focusing on Jesus keeps me out of a lot of trouble in life. He makes my work easier and better.

Now, I realized I am saved by His work and not mine. I also understand I am saved by grace and not by works. It is a free gift of God by Christ Jesus. It’s free and He paid for it. However, He saved me for good works (Ephesians 2:8-10). Christ followers want to hear Jesus say, “Well done” at the end of their day and especially at the end of their life and focusing on Him makes that reality.

I am glad to say that my fencerow turned out perfectly straight that day. I wish I could say everyday turns out the same for me. I do know this though, when my focus is set on Jesus and I walk towards Him, it does.

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