STAYING FOCUSED WHEN FAVOURED

Jan 24 2017
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OUT of all the definitions of the word “FAVOUR” that I found in the Oxford Dictionary of Current English (4th Ed.), the one I love best is that ‘favour is special treatment given to one person at the expense of another”.

This definition brings to mind the story of Queen Esther as written in “The Book of Esther”. I read the story again and my imagination ran wild. I re-wrote the story and I will encourage that you read my version.

“Mordecai learnt about Haman’s plot to annihilate all the Jews resid­ing in Ethiopia/India. He tore his clothes as a result of that information and put on sack cloth, and ashes. Then he cried with a loud voice and went to sit in front of the king’s gate. That was Mordecai, the cousin of the Queen of the land!

The Queen’s maids and eunuchs saw their madam’s cousin “shamelessly disgracing himself.” They went to tell the queen about her cousin’s unbecoming act. The queen hurried­ly organised decent garment for her cousin and sent it to him so that he could desist from embarrassing him­self and perhaps, her, any further.

Mordecai refused the apparently good quality palace designer attire sent to him. He sent a message to Esther about the calamity that was about to befall them and warned her not to pre­sume she was safe in the palace.

Esther got thinking. She sent a message back to her cousin that the Jews should fast and pray along with her because the law of the land permits no one to see the king with­out an invitation from him. In fact, she told the messengers to tell her cousin that she had not been called to go in to the king for thirty days. What a marriage!

Esther eventually found favour with the king and she was invited into his presence. King Ahasuerus looked very charming and hand­some. His purple robe sat so beauti­fully on him. Esther remembered she hadn’t been in to see her hus­band, the king –for the past thirty days, a whole thirty days, “oh, what do I do now? She thought. What if it takes longer than thirty days to see this man again?”

Esther decided to have a good time with her husband first before telling him what brought her to his presence. Esther danced before the king, kissed him, hugged him and the king felt really loved. He fell for Esther and they ended up in bed. They both couldn’t let go of each other. They remained in bed throughout the night.

The following morning, Honour­able Chief Haman was the first to wake them up because “urgent mat­ters of the land demanded the king’s attention.” The king was sorry “the lovers’ time out” had to come to an abrupt end, so he commanded the queen to go back to her chamber within the palace and gave his word to call back for her once he was through with what demanded his urgent attention.

Of course, Esther felt partially fulfilled but then she remembered her unaccomplished task. She how­ever took solace in the fact that she would be called back shortly.

The matters of the land held the king’s attention for several days by which time it was a day to the expiration of the decree and the king was yet to call for Esther his queen.

Wow! My imagination!

It could have happened that way if Queen Esther had lost focus after being favoured.

Queen Esther did not abuse favour. She was focused when she eventually found favour in the sight of the king. She did not allow the fact that she had not been with her husband in 30 days erode her sense of priority. I am sure she missed her husband, she probably missed inti­macy too, but she knew well enough that it was not the most important task for her to accomplish as at that time.

Yet another one of my imagina­tions!

It was about the time Elijah would be taken away and he pleaded with Elisha to stay back because God had sent him to Bethel. Of course, Elisha refused and insisted he was not going to let Elijah out of sight.

While they journeyed from place to place with Elisha refusing to lose sight of Elijah, the sons of the prophets in all the different places they went, kept informing Elisha of the proposed departure of his mas­ter. The Bible records that he was always prompt in informing them that he was aware and he always urged them to be silent; he didn’t want to be distracted.

At every stop, Elijah pleaded with Elisha to stay back, at the same time, the sons of the prophets also unfailingly informed him about his master’s proposed exit.

Eventually, the two of them stood by the river Jordan, Elijah struck the water with his mantle and the water parted for them to pass on a dry land. When Elijah saw Elisha’s level of persistence, determina­tion and focus, he asked him what he wanted from him and Elisha requested for a double portion of Eli­jah’s spirit. “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not” Elijah said to Elisha.

The Bible records that as they continued and talked, that sud­denly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire and separated the two of them. Elijah got caught up by whirlwind into Heaven.

Now join me in my imagination!

Elisha was told by the first set of the sons of the prophets what would happen to his master, and then another set… on and on as they journeyed; he became big-headed. He felt good. He thought of the kind of respect he would command once his master was taken away. Though he was still following Elijah around, he was busy dreaming about the promotion coming his way sooner than he had imagined.

They got to Jordan, and because he was still day dreaming, though he followed him closely, he couldn’t decipher if all Elijah did was to strike the water with his mantle or if he said something to the water before it parted; “anyway what does it matter?”. After all, we’ve crossed to the other side, he thought.

Then Elijah’s pep talks with Elisha “whatever!” Elisha thought. “Let’s get this done quickly, will you?” he really wasn’t listening to Elijah; he was fantasizing about who he would become by midnight of that day. He proudly looked around him to observe all the things he would be master over very soon and just as he turned to observe, he heard a sharp sound behind him, he turned around to see what it was and he found out that Elijah – his anointed master had disappeared. ‘Oh! Wasn’t Elijah saying something to me the other time?! Elisha thought.

He attempted to cross Jordan but he didn’t seem to remember how they made it from there earlier on. What should he do now? What was he supposed to say? How would he get to cross to the other side?

Back to reality!

While the sons of the prophets thought they were giving Elisha first-hand information, he asked them not to distract him. He told them he was aware but commanded them to be silent; he didn’t think it was time to gist. While Elijah was giving instructions, he remained focused and attentive. No wonder he didn’t miss it.

A group of young applicants went for an interview somewhere some time ago, they were to write an es­say and a topic was written on the question paper, but they were ad­vised to read the instructions before attempting the question. Some did, some didn’t but only one applicant out of about ten of them saw what was mildly written within the in­struction. It read; “don’t attempt any question. You are to write only your name, best of luck”.

Favour will cause protocol to be broken for you. Favour will cause men (and women) to help you. Favour makes you preferred. Favour makes you get things done almost effortlessly but focus is the key word here.

Focus is crucial in whatever one finds to do. There are distractions everywhere but only the focused get things done. They don’t only get things done; they get things done on time and correctly too.

When favoured, do not lose focus of what is important. Disregard distractions in the pursuit of your goals. Identify your aim when fa­voured and strive to accomplish it without compromise.

As Christians, we desire to be favoured at all times, but some­times, we mismanage it. Don’t get carried away when you eventually get access to that top executive, when you finally meet that man God has prepared to render help to you. Don’t get caught telling stories- (it’s not likely the time to recount how unfortunate you’ve been) or taking actions that portray you as a time waster but time to state what you want. I heard of someone who met his helper (a long lost friend) and when he was asked how he could be helped, he was dumbfounded by the level of opulence his friend was surrounded with and was busy recounting those days when they both had nothing until the time was up and they had to part ways again. For him, opportunity did not meet preparation and the unfortunate part to his story was that his friend never had the opportunity to see him again till he left office because there were many other state issues to attend to. His friend was a state governor then! Favour will surely come your way but it must meet you prepared and focused. Favour all the way! Shalom!

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