We recently returned from a mid-winter’s vacation to sunny Florida. I can’t tell you how fun it was to see water that was unfrozen, grass that was green, and flowers that were blooming after living in an all-white tundra for the past three months.

While we were there, we made a trip to the Everglades, which was described by our tour guide as a microcosm of life on earth. If all is well in the Everglades, all is evidently well on earth. Walking among the alligators and seeing hundreds of water birds living in the shallow swamp that is the Everglades did inspire many allegories in my mind, and my husband’s. So for my blog today, I’m borrowing a page from my husband’s sermon (he’s a pastor). He used my photos in his power point earlier today; I’m using his idea.

In this picture, the focus is on the leaves. They’re pretty, they’re green, they’re alive, they’re good, but as you can see in the second photo, they’re not what’s really important in this picture!

So often in life, we focus on the little things, to the detriment of what’s really important. As Christians, we may focus on squabbling denominations, political and religious issues, rites and rituals, and forget about what’s really important – grace, forgiveness, atonement, serving a Savior sent to die for our sins.   As people, we may focus on Facebook, checking our email, fixing dinner, getting our errands done and our bills paid and doing a million other things that may be good and well in their own right, but are distractions nonetheless. As writers, we may focus on promotions, classes, conferences, sales statistics, and current industry trends, and forget to write the best book we know how to write.

In today’s lesson at church, the Apostle Paul was so busy focusing on what he thought was important – sticking with the program, defending his religion against the new Christian zealots who claimed that Jesus was the Messiah, trying to keep things the way they’d always been – that he almost failed to see the alligator looming front and center, refusing to be ignored.

What are the leaves in your own life? What’s keeping you from seeing the alligator? If we open our eyes and look past the leaves that are cluttering our view and distracting us from seeing the bigger picture, we will be able to focus on what’s really important.

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