Keeping our Focus – Lesson from an Arctic Tern

I love summer because it usually means travel for our family.  Sometimes that’s just around the midwest as we travel wherever God has had my husband, Craig, speaking.  But sometimes it’s more adventurous – like last week.  We got to spend a week on the coast of Alaska seeing amazing beauty in mountains, snow, glaciers and the ocean.  In a previous chapter of life, I was a high school and middle school science teacher.  That sciency side of me shows up so often when we are outdoors because I see so many places in our world where God has planted a picture of His character or an object lesson about life with Him right in front of me, where I can’t miss it.
Carolus Linnaeus (who was the father of our scientific system of naming things – in case you forgot that from biology), once said this,
“I saw the infinite, all-knowing and all-powerful God from behind…. I followed His footsteps over nature’s fields and saw everywhere an eternal wisdom and power, an inscrutable perfection.” – Carolus Linnaeus (1770)
How exciting that we can see glimpses of God’s character through His creation!  Here’s one that I learned about on my voyage to Alaska.
The arctic tern is a bird with an insatiable itch to travel. It migrates 44,000 miles from the coast of Alaska to Antarctica every year!   Over it’s lifetime, that’s equal to three trips to the moon and back!  That’s some serious ambition.
Along the way, it runs into all of the global air currents that sometimes help him and at other times work against him on his journey.  But he also runs into local storms that threaten to blow him of course.
The amazing thing about the Arctic tern is that when he is fishing, no matter how fierce the winds, how much his wings and tiny body are being blown, his head stays in the same place.  Unmovable.  Totally fixed.
When he’s fishing, his eyes are fixed on the prize and his head stays stationary.
Sometimes it ministry can feel a little like those long migrations.  We flap our wings, praying that the Lord will pick us up on a wind and multiply the power of our small wings.  It sometimes feels like the storm around us is blowing us off course.
But that’s when we remember to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him endured the cross (Heb 12:2).” When we fix our eyes on Jesus,  we are immovable – even in the strongest winds that come against us.  But fixing our eyes on Jesus also requires us to fix our eyes on the calling that He has given us.  To refuse to be distracted by discouragement, comfort, or other enticing opportunities.  Fix your eyes, my friend.  Be immovable.

About the Author:

I’m so glad you are here! I hope you’ll find our time together refreshing and invigorating. My name is Coletta Smith. I’ve been a Pastor’s wife for 23 years now – and I love it. I haven’t loved every moment of it – and that’s some of what has motivated me to create this blog – there are a lot of struggles that are unique to ministry and pastor’s families.

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