The Sacred Scriptures are full of teachings calling us to keep the Lord first in our lives.

God, in the first commandment says to us, “I the Lord, am your God. You shall not have other gods besides me.” St. Paul writes often about keeping our eyes fixed on the Lord so that we may not stray from God’s path.

The importance of St. Paul’s words came to me several years ago when I was fishing on a little lake by St. Cloud, Minnesota. I was in a small boat going across the lake. Knowing where I wanted to go I set out for my destination.

I hadn’t gone too far when something caught my eye off on the left, but I continued on. Just a short time later I found myself looking at something on the shore off to my right, but I continued on. I knew where I wanted to end up, and I thought that I was going straight to my destination. However, when I looked back at the small wake my boat was leaving behind me, I recognized that when I looked to the left the boat went the same way and when I looked to the right the boat also went to the right. I was surprised, since I thought that all this time I was going straight across the lake.

How easy it is for us to become distracted in our lives and journeys with the Lord. Sometimes things of the world distract us in such subtle ways that we may not even recognize the change of direction in our lives. I encourage us all to surround ourselves with people of faith. People who in their love for us will be honest with us and tell us when we are losing our direction. Good friends are not always easy to find. Many people do not feel comfortable talking to others about where they are headed and how some decisions may have separated them from the Lord, family, and people who sincerely care for them. May God, who loves us, always keep us safe. May God put into each of our lives friends who will help keep us pointed to the Lord and all that is good.

Father Greg Havel is the pastor at Church of the Crucifixion in La Crescent.

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