Jesus said, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light” (Matthew 6:22). In the context, He’s talking about the importance of focusing on God and His Kingdom. He says later that if we’re single-minded in our pursuit of God, everything else we’re worried about will come to us (Verse 33).
This teaches us the power of priorities and keeping God in first place. It also teaches a broader truth about how focus enables us to walk in our destiny.
Jesus is saying, “You really can’t focus on more than one thing at once.” Trying to be good at everything is counterproductive. People that accomplish a lot in life tend to be people with a very narrow focus. They find what they’re good at, what they love, and then they invest a lot of time and energy becoming an expert in that field.
If you have specialized knowledge or skills, people are usually willing to pay you for access to it. With the money you receive, you are able to buy access to information or skills you don’t have, as well as pay your bills. Focusing on one thing attracts all the others we need to us.
This is a bit counterintuitive, so here’s how it works in my life. I love teaching the Bible and pastoring people. I spent a lot of time, money, and effort learning how to do that effectively. Because of that, enough people are willing to come to my church that I can make a living pastoring. My focus on a few things gives me access to many more.
For example, there is information necessary to run a church that I don’t have, like how to build a good website and do digital marketing. I could spend years learning to do this effectively, but that would divide my focus and take me away from what I’m actually good at.
Instead, I take some of the money the church makes and pay a good friend to help us. He’s spent lots of time, energy, and money learning the business world. I need that information, but what brings it to me is my focus on something else. I seek first the Kingdom (which in this case is my destiny as a pastor) and all these other things are added to me.
Specialization, then, really is the key to unlocking your destiny.It’s the “how” behind the “what.” Many people have a good idea “what” they’d like to do but are unsure of “how” to get there.
If you don’t know the “what” yet, try asking yourself this question: “What would I love people to pay me to do?”
This may sound selfish, but it’s not if your heart is to help people. Your goal should be to make an income doing something you’re passionate about.You won’t always like all aspects of your job (no one does), but the more time you can spend doing things you care about, the more fulfilled and productive you’ll be. You must also consider that sometimes it’s not the actual day to day tasks that you’re passionate about, but the overall goal. Someone might start a dry-cleaning business, not necessarily because they love laundry, but because they’re passionate about being an entrepreneur.
Once you know the “what,” you’ve got to set to work on the “how.” The question is, “How do I get people to pay me to do this?”
The answer is to become an expert. It’s to focus intensely on your field of interest and study like crazy. Read books, take classes, find a mentor etc. Do what is necessary to gain a specialized skillset.
You’ll know you’re getting there when people start asking you questions. There’s an old saying: “When the student is ready, the master will appear.” The reverse is also true. When the teacher is ready, the student will appear. Or more practically, when the product is ready, people will buy it.
A word of caution: book knowledge and experience aren’t the same thing. Sometimes people will pay for book knowledge, but usually you need to apply the knowledge and see it work personally before someone else will be willing to buy in to what you’re doing.
The level of expertise you need to be effective depends on the demand for the knowledge or skills you possess. Fields like medicine, for example, have a very high demand, and thus the knowledge threshold is pretty low to begin to make money. You can take a few week’s course to become a CNA and start making money immediately. If you’re happy doing that, great! If you want more money or autonomy, you’ll need more knowledge.
Other fields, like the arts and humanities, have lower demand. This doesn’t mean they’re less worthy, it just means you need a higher level of specialization in order to make a living.You need to be honest with yourself and ask whether you are willing or able to achieve that level of specialization.
Prv 18:16 says, “A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.”
We often read that as saying that an individual’s innate talents will promote him and give him opportunities to connect with important people. There’s truth to that, but in the cultural context it’s more talking about a literal gift, like the queen of Sheba brought Solomon. Her gift to him was what allowed her to access his wisdom.
Gifts like that have value and are the product of us working to earn something. The proverb isn’t so much saying it’s our innate gifts that promote us, but rather our ability to work those gifts to earn something of value. When we have something valuable to contribute to people’s lives, doors start to open and destiny awaits!