Shepherds, Cowherds and The Secret of Life


So, even though King David lived in ancient Israel before cell phones, laptops, call waiting and 300 cable channels, he understood the problem of modern man. In Psalm 86:11b he cries out “Give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name.”

An undivided heart? Some days I can barely find an undivided minute!

When was the last time you did ONE THING AT A TIME?

When we drive, we’re catching up on our phone messages, learning a second language or listing to NPR. When we eat, we’re watching the news or reading an assignment or driving or checking our email. When we work, we don’t focus on one task. We’re writing a report while we’re meeting with an employee while we’re instant messaging Europe and planning a conference call. Home is no different. We are mopping the floor while we load the laundry and bounce one baby on our hips while we’re teaching another child how to read and working on a chapter of the Love Dare to improve our marriage. We come into the gym to work out and we’ve got books on ipods and music on iphones and so many wires and gadgets, you’d think we were being monitored for heart problems through their workouts.

Remember the movie City Slickers? Billy Crystal (the city slicker) is herding cattle alongside Curly (the trail hardened cowboy) when Curly ventures the following wisdom:
Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?
[holds up one finger]
Curly: This.
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean @@#.
Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?”
Curly: [smiles] That’s what *you* have to find out.

One thing for a lifetime? Many people I know don’t even watch one channel on the TV at a time anymore!

But David was a shepherd and Curly was a cowherd. That’s cosmic cinematic symbolism, right?

We are suffering for our divided attention. If the eyes are the lamps of the body, then divided attention will eventually lead to divided hearts. A divided heart is a weakened heart. A failing heart. A diseased heart. We are losing heart.

There was a popular song out, not too long ago called One Thing and the chorus was “If I traded it all,If I gave it all away for one thing, Just for one thing. If I sorted it out, If I knew all about this one thing Wouldn’t that be something?”

That’s an amazing message to come from the most multi-tasking, tech savvy generation to come along. The message for ONE THING.

There have been times in the past months when I thought I couldn’t keep on going. The weight of life was crushing and I need to find the escape hatch. Not really an option but that’s how I felt.

I’ve learned now when that happens to make a cup of coffee and head to my deck that faces out on a patch of woods. I bring nothing else. Just the coffee. And I sit. And I breathe. And I pay attention. It’s worth a thousand vacations in those moments when I just do one thing.

Remember the seventies movie about St. Francis of Assisi called Brother Son, Sister Moon? This problem we have of divided hearts, divided attentions, losing ourselves in the craziness of life was not unknown in medieval times. I’ll finish this blog with the lyrics from one of the songs from that soundtrack by Donovan and then I hope you’ll make yourself a cup of coffee and go somewhere to sit and just drink your coffee. That’s what I’m going to do.

If you want your dream to be
Build it slow and surely.
Small beginnings, greater ends
Heartfelt work grows purely.
If you want to live life free
Take your time go slowly.
Do few things but do them well
Simple joys are holy.
Day by day,
Stone by stone,
Build your secret slowly.
Day by day,
You’ll grow too,
You’ll know heaven’s glory.
If you want your dream to be
Build it slow and surely.
Small beginnings, greater ends,
Heartfelt work grows purely.
If you want to live life free
Take your time go slowly.


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3 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Exactly what I’m doing this week, Lori, and I’m loving it. There’s nothing like pushing all that other stuff aside just to focus on the Lord and His many blessings.

  2. Karen says:

    I think I know what that one thing is. In the middle of all of the craziness that is part of living in this day and age, do we rest our focus on the knowledge of God and assignments from Him?

    As we seek daily knowledge, do we seek it in the overstimulation of life on earth, or do we seek the only true knowledge — that which is eternal and given by God?

    Wow! I think I’ve just asked myself into a blog topic. Thanks, Lori.

  3. Enjoy, Jen!

    Karen, I remember a six-week period of intense prayer that defined my life. I distinctly remember God asking me during that time – are you following a career path? a role? an ambition? or are you following me? It didn’t make life easy but it made getting the directions a lot clearer. God bless! Can’t wait to read the next blog! I love your transparency.