Links Daily Devotional

This One Thing

“And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.” (Nehemiah 6:3, ESV)

Back in 1978 the PGA Tour did not keep all the statistics like driving accuracy, greens in regulation, sand saves, putting, scrambling, etc., that they do today, so in Larry Nelson’s fifth season on Tour, his caddie recorded and compiled all of these into a notebook. At the end of the year, he gave it to his player for review. It was obvious that there was one area of Nelson’s game that was holding him back from winning and being as successful as he believed he could be. So during the off-season, Nelson committed to focus his practice and work on improving just one thing: his short game.

In 1979, Nelson recorded nine top-ten finishes, including two victories, finished second on the money list behind only Tom Watson, and qualified for the United States Ryder Cup team, where he went 5-0-0 in the matches. This season was really just the beginning of his Hall of Fame career, but it was the singular focus he had in the off-season that was needed to make such a giant step forward in his career.

Much like Larry Nelson did before the 1979 season, it’s not uncommon for us to do our own self-improvement work and make resolutions from the question, “What should I do about me?” You may see some great progress in an area of your life, but imagine what would happen if you changed that question to, “What needs to be done around me?”

Consider the inspiring story of Nehemiah. I would encourage you to read the book for yourself to get the whole story, but this man who lived in the fifth century before Christ was so greatly burdened in his heart by the news he received of the state of Jerusalem and his fellow Jews who lived there that he risked everything to do what he knew in his heart God was calling him to do. So this cupbearer of the great Persian king, Artaxerxes, requested to leave the luxury and comfort of a palace to go to a devastated Jerusalem to rebuild the city for his God and the people of Israel that he so loved.

This God-inspired endeavor was met with much resistance and distraction; however, Nehemiah admirably pursued what broke his heart with unrelenting resolve, determination, and focus that was epitomized by today’s verse. When leaders of surrounding nations tried to distract him and pull him away from the one thing he knew God had called him to do, he responded with, “I am doing a great work, and cannot come down.” We all could use this line against distractions from our callings.

In 2015 there are many things you can do, many things you want to do, and certainly many things you will do for yourself, but what is the one thing you must do for others around you? What is the one thing that God is stirring your heart to do? I want to encourage you to commit to make it your focus and not let any greed, fear, temptation, distraction, or self-preserving decision get in the way of doing that one thing that at the end of your life you’d like to have people lined up to thank you for.

Josh Nelson
January 21, 2015
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