Earlier today I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with a pastor friend who is also in the military. During the course of our conversation, he said something that was so profound that I asked him to repeat it so I could write it down. He said, "Soldiers in high conflict areas share fewer personal problems than those in relatively low conflict areas." I asked him to flesh that out for me. He explained that military personnel in high conflict areas don't dwell on personal problems or issues because their primary focus is on the mission. They cannot afford any distraction that might jeopardize their own safety or the safety of the others in their unit.
Well, it's obvious (I'm writing about it) that it got me to thinking. I believe my friend's military observation may be a universal truth. As a pastor and church leader for nearly 30 years, I've observed a number of different churches either first-hand or from a distance. Those churches that are truly missional - they are focused on a ministry that is "others-driven" - tend to have fewer internal conflicts and problems than those that are more inward-focused. I've observed something similar in lives of individuals. People who are focused on others tend to complain less and do not have many of the personal or relational conficts that those who are more self-absorbed seem to experience.
Moving past looking at others, I need to make sure that I am focused on the mission Christ has given me. I am responsible to lead others entrusted to my care with missional intentionality. I am trying. How about you? Where is your focus?