Stop the Presses!

Today’s guest post is by Levi Benkert, author of No Greater Love.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, workers at newspapers around the world were going about what they thought to be a completely normal day, but as you know, things were not even close to normal. A plan was already underway that would change America forever. As soon as the story hit, nearly every major newspaper around the globe threw out every story they were planning to run the next day and focused, instead, on piecing together what they knew about the story that would change everything. Many even choose to run a special-edition paper that came out just hours after the attack.

For those in the newspaper industry, a big story is worth changing everything for—tossing the routine and staying up all night if that’s what it takes to get this one right. Can you imagine a paper that decided not to run a story about the attacks on September 12?

I recently visited a flower farm in Ethiopia owned by a large German corporation and run under the most exacting standards you can possibly imagine. Each flower is tagged and monitored, and every employee wears protective clothing and goes through a sanitation process before even walking into one of the greenhouses, each about the size of two Costco warehouses side by side. High-paid experts are flown in from around the world when a problem comes up, and something as small as a slight change in the water’s pH balance is treated as though the whole operation were at risk. No problem is too small to be noticed; everything is precise and run with the utmost care.

“If we ship one flower out of here and it is later discovered to have even the slightest hint of a disease on it, the greenhouse that it came from will then be shut down, cleaned with bleach and steaming hot water, and then quarantined for a year,” the manager explained as he walked ahead of me in a bright blue protective suit, cloth protectors over his feet and rubber gloves on his hands.

I have to wonder, though. What are the areas in our own lives that require us to stop the presses?

Do we know that they are? Are we willing to shut down the whole operation when something goes wrong?

Think about this.

If you are a parent and your kid is having trouble and comes to you wanting your help—

Are you willing to stop the presses? To throw away thousands of valuable plants, clean out the greenhouse, and quarantine it for a year?

Are you willing to set aside everything else, listen carefully to the issue, prayerfully consider what to do next, and then move ahead?

Or how about your spouse?

Are you willing to stay home from your job to work through something, or has the routine become the most important thing in your life?

Has the money, the bills, the job, the boss, the friends, or the image you project become the most important thing in your life?

Or, even more importantly: our relationship with God—

Are we willing to stop our day, stop our life, and just spend time seeking Him?

Does He matter that much to us?

There is no doubt that these moments come to us often: times when we need to stop the presses, forget the plans for the day or even the month, and instead focus on the important, on the foundation.

What are the things in your life that are worth fighting for? Are you willing to stop the whole show for those things?

Or does the show go on?

For me, I am a follower of Christ, a parent, and a husband. I fight for orphans. And on any given day, I am committed to stop everything to get things right in those areas. I don’t always, and often it is too late before I figure out that a stop-the-presses moment passed me by, but I try still—and trust Him for wisdom and strength.

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