Habakkuk 2:1 ESV
1 I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.
What are you watching over? This is not an abstract question. Watching over is intentional and passionate and frequent. Watching over reveals purpose.
Many a parent is not a watchful parent. Many a neighbor is not a watchful neighbor. Many a member is not a watchful follower of Jesus. What do you watch over with such ferocious faithfulness everyone who knows you agrees with your answer?
Maybe the greatest sign of spiritual understanding is this awareness of purpose.
Sidenote- the following is not considerate of our absolute need to help where we can, share where we should and be light in utter darkness. But, it is about being focused where we are called so we can minister to others from a position of strength.
Think about it. Peter was an apostle to the Jews (Ga 2:8). Paul was an Apostle to the Gentiles (Ga 2:8, Ro 11:13). They knew their calling and, for the most part, took their stand in that place of purpose. They prayed there (Eph 1:6), communicated there (1Cor 9:16) and longed to be there (Ro 15:32). Their purpose was found on that tower.
I won’t find my purpose standing at your watch. I won’t see or hear anything regarding your complaint. I can make stuff up; I can discern false whispers and even visions. But none of it will satisfy. Purpose is personal and so is your watchpost. You will only be given revelation where you have influence. Habakkuk had the ear of the nation as a Levite and prominent musician. He watched over them.
Where is your focus?
As I follow Jesus today, I am struggling with a jerk’s false opinion while triumphing in speaking life over an unrelated situation. In other words, as I focus on my pursuit of Jesus, I am acutely aware of where I need the Gospel most. My son is sitting in a writing class, which he loves, next to a friend I’m slightly skeptical about. My girls are home finishing their final reviews before test day tomorrow while my wife teaches them and models what godliness looks like. Later tonight, we will all be reunited at the table and catch up on the day. If one of them has a melancholy tone, we will go for a random walk or sit on the bed and sort through life before beginning the process of resolution.
It’s work. It’s watching. It’s exhausting. But because of where I focus- I don’t have time to deviate from my watchpost.
I have friends who have let me in on where they need prayer and counsel. I don’t know this because I was trolling their social media feeds or because I overheard them opening up their life to another. I know what I know because they gave me influence. That influence came from time and interest.
I don’t have a database full of virtual friends whose published lives interrupt mine. Frankly, I don’t have time. When purpose is known- distractions are easiest to avoid.
Strangely, we have all become unusually busy doing nothing. Even work is no longer an actual 8 or 10-hour day. Study after study shows countless daily hours are wasted online, checking social posts, texting friends and being interrupted within the cube-farm. This wouldn’t be a big deal if we hadn’t convinced ourselves we are over-worked. Please understand- the distractions aren’t work. They are choices we are making that keep us at work longer and create emotions we then project onto our work. It’s a ridiculously constant cycle. Every time we leave our tower to watch someone else’s, we lose a sense of purpose. Not permanently, but temporary loss nevertheless. How do we get it back? We go back to our tower.
THROUGH THE VIEWFINDER
Just like Habakkuk had complaints, so do I. Sometimes I don’t see the Gospel prosper in my home. I don’t always see work’s promised reward. I don’t always see people being drawn in droves to the cross. Now, I’m not just watching and complaining, I’m also listening and searching for solutions. And that’s the point. I don’t have time to find answers here if I’m always searching there.
You won’t either.
Habakkuk’s chief complaint was related to Judah. They were his watch. He wasn’t neglecting national problems for international nosiness. He prayed for those where God had given him influence. His focus was there.
Your family isn’t a distraction, but someone else’s may be. Your career isn’t a distraction, but someone else’s may be. Where are you called and what have you been given? This tower is your post.
Focus. Pray. Watch. Speak. There.
A weekly blog by G. Shawn Scarborough, Pastor of Livingstone Church