Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Single focus

Single focus

My grandson has cars on his mind.

Sorry, that is an understatement. He is completely, unwaveringly dedicated to playing with cars, whereas I, only two days sojourning in his uncomplicated world, am worn out by them. From the moment he wakes up until his reluctant parting for bed in early evening, his only desire is to have some kind of vehicle in his hand.


Seriously, it’s impressive.

I watch him maneuver them as he leans against our stone hearth. He is intent to the point of physical commitment to the play – as if the rest of his body is an inconvenient anchor to his hand. His wholesale dedication is a wonder.

I shouldn’t idealize this. When kids are this enraptured by play, it’s because there are adults nearby taking care of distractions. Life for the adults is never so simple. But there is something powerfully attractive about a single focus.


Binoculars are a great aid for bird watching -- after one learns how to align the two views. It’s quite frustrating to have competing images, close but not quite one. The same applies to life. Robert Frost puts this well at the end of his poem, Two Tramps in Mud Time.

But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future’s sakes.

It’s not simply vocation and avocation that need to come into a combined image. It’s the calibration of all of my life to the heart and plan of Jesus – not only just for me but for his Kingdom. It’s not so much an overlap of the spiritual onto the so-called secular, but an infusion of everything with his purposes. As Paul says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col. 3:17)

That alignment may mean a refocusing of my work. Maybe. But it most certainly requires a daily turning of the dial of my heart to see more of how he sees what I’m viewing that day.

And a wholehearted commitment to what he wants.

Loving Lord, you are where “love and need” become one. And only in you can any deed ever truly be done for “Heaven and the future’s sakes.” Give us an undivided heart, a single vision, where everything is imbued with purpose and meaning and thanksgiving because it is a part of your plan for us, your people.

Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.

No