Judges 3:7-11 (Part 3) – Getting In the Zone!

Posted: August 6, 2017 in Book of Judges
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Judges 3:7-11 (Part 3 of 3)
Othniel Becomes Israel’s Judge

Getting in the zone. You know those times when you get really focused on something where everything else seems out there but a blurry blob. Sometimes, we have to have that extraordinary focus to accomplish a task that has been assigned to us. I know that most people would think that being an accountant is a passionless job. However, it has been my passion for 30 plus years now. I don’t know if it is the work itself or that I have this masochistic need to accomplish the seeming unaccomplishable. But that extraordinary focus used to be expressed as an internal auditor back in that part of my career where I worked for big corporations who had business holdings around the country and sometimes around the world. As internal auditors for these big companies, we used to have to fly into these locations and do internal audits of their financial records and analyze the efficiency of their day to day operations.

We would have to do internal audits of these locations and the work we had to do in just normal 8-hour workdays would take anywhere from three to four weeks. Usually, we only had two sets of Monday-Friday to get these audits done. It required working at least 10 hours a day on site, going to dinner for a little while, and then working another 3 or 4 hours back in the room. I used to get to go to neat places like London, York, and Sandwich, England, or Cork, Ireland, or the Cayman Islands, or Puerto Rico, or Ensenada, Mexico, or the Bahamas among many others over the years and people would say that they would envy having a job like mine. I would always say, be careful what you wish for, because we would be working 13-14 hour days getting these audits done. There was very little time to go live the wild life in these locations (unless we spent the weekend there in between the two weeks of work). The work was the thing. I guess it was through these jobs that I gained this dedication to task and the ability to break down tasks into their smallest components and then chunk away at them. In these internal audits, it would require great focus to make sure that you got all your audit programs completed and that all our audit workpapers were more than adequately documented to prove that you actually did the work and did it professionally (and had not cut any corners to do it). And, when there was an audit finding, you had to make sure that you had it so well supporting that the management at the auditee location could in no way dispute the veracity of your finding. And to get it all done in two weeks required great focus of mind and dedication to task no matter how seemingly insurmountable it seemed. It was good training for today that is for sure.

Now, I am and have been comptroller for Fujikura America, Inc. for almost 9 years now. I will celebrate that event on October 6th coming up soon. That job alone requires great focus month after month and day after day. We are a small part of a larger US group of Fujikura companies and an even smaller part of the global Fujikura family of companies but that does not mean I have any less work than any of our larger sister companies. We have a small staff and there is much work to be done by each person in my finance group. I carry a big load of work myself and especially at month-end when we have to get the books closed in 2 business days. It requires great focus. I get in a zone. People around me are just a blur as I complete my 20 different tasks during those two days. It is like a blur, those two days. It is like the rest of the office does not exist. I get so focused on what I am doing that people coming up to my desk actually scare me when they speak to me because I did not see them coming. It startles me. I just get so laser-focused on what I am doing that nothing else can penetrate that psyche that I have at month-end. Then after those two days of closing, there is another 2 days of generating reports, analyzing and commenting upon them and the doing the final reporting to Japan. After those four days of closing and reporting are done, I come up for air. I look back and go wow! Another laser-focused moment in time complete. Another monumental task accomplished. I also find that the same is true for me overall as I not only perform my busy secular job, but also perform the same tasks on a lighter scale for my church. Add to that I am pursuing my D.Min. degree. My life in general requires scheduling tasks, great focus, and time management.

I think that is why I value my vacations so much. My wife and I get to unplug. I get to drop off the grid of my life for a moment. Get some rest. Then, when it’s over, it’s back to laser-focus. It’s back to the zone. I know that all of this is similar to when the Holy Spirit takes over with us as Christians. Sometimes, though we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have to have a special dose of Holy Spirit power to accomplish something great for the kingdom. Let’s read Judges 3:7-11 now for the second of three reads:

7 The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs. 8 The anger of the Lord burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim,[a] to whom the Israelites were subject for eight years. 9 But when they cried out to the Lord, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them. 10 The Spirit of the Lord came on him, so that he became Israel’s judge[b] and went to war. The Lord gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him. 11 So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died.

In this passage, we see that this phrase, “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him,” was spoken of the judges, Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson, among others. It expresses a temporary and spontaneous increase of physical, spiritual, or mental strength. This was an extraordinary and supernatural occurrence to prepare for a special task. Today, the Holy Spirit is available to all believers, but for special tasks he may come upon believers in an extraordinary way. We should ask the Holy Spirit’s help as we face our daily problems as well life’s major challenges.

There are people who throughout Christian history who had special moments in which the Holy Spirit has given them that extra lift, that extra needed infusion to accomplish great things for the kingdom. Just think of Peter, and Paul, and the other disciples that spread the gospel throughout the Roman Empire within a century after Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection. Think of modern day folks like Martin Luther King, Jr. who went against all odds for years against institutional racism in the South. He went from being a nice little preacher in a nice little black church to a series of moments in time where He had to stand fast on God’s Word against hatred and fear of change. That was Holy Spirit power sustaining him when it would have been just as easy to quit and say the task cannot be accomplished. Think of Joshua leading the conquest of the Promised Land. It took over 7 years to accomplish that task. He had to have those laser-focused times of spirit-filled infusion of the Holy Spirit.

When we think of the Holy Spirit power that raised Jesus from the grave. That same power that raised Him from the grave is living in us as Christ followers every day. That same power that brought Jesus’ lifeless human vessel back to life. That same power in you and me. That same power we can call upon when we have insurmountable tasks for the kingdom to accomplish. When we are called to plant a church in a strange place, the Holy Spirit will give us great infusion of His power to accomplish what He has called us to do. When we get down and out about our life’s circumstances and how we are crushed and defeated, the Holy Spirit power that raised Jesus from the dead can be called upon to deliver us from that which oppresses and defeats us. We have the power in us. We have that which will give us laser-focus to do what needs to be done. We have that which we give us abilities far beyond what we can do on our own. We have that which will empower us to be bold for the kingdom. We have the Holy Spirit!

Amen and Amen.

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