During the Lenten season, staff and church leaders will share a daily devotional. Please join us on the journey.
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
The Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey
Steve Dorough – Sunday School Leader
The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus was known as “The Greatest Show on Earth.” For fifty years, beginning in 1967 until May of last year, they performed for more than 250,000,000 people worldwide. If you ever attended one of their shows, you know they were famous for their three-ringed circus…three huge rings on the sawdust floor under the big top tent with a variety of acts performing simultaneously.
The little boy’s favorite circus act were the lions and tigers. He had seen on television how the brave lion tamer would step into the cage with all of those roaring beasts and with a chair and a whip would make the lions and tigers do all kinds of tricks. The little boy told his dad that he couldn’t wait to see the circus; but the part of the show he wanted to see most of all was the lions and tigers.
Finally the big day arrived. The dad and his son got up early, had a great breakfast with mom, then loaded up in the family car for the ride out to the fairgrounds. It was a glorious Spring day, sunny and warm. Dad and son talked about the circus on the ride out and the son could not stop talking about the lions and tigers.
When they arrived at the fairgrounds the little boy was awestruck by all the sights and sounds and smells and tastes. Dad didn’t want his little boy to miss a thing and made sure they walked up and down the circus midway seeing all the sideshows, enjoying a hot dog for lunch and tasting his first cotton candy. As the afternoon wore on, they rode the merry-go-round twice and the ferris wheel. The little boy had never had so much fun. As it began to turn dark, the dad took his son by the hand and with great excitement led him up to the big red and white circus tent.
They found their seats right in front of the center ring of the three ring circus. Just then the lights went dark and a spotlight circled the ring master in his bright red uniform. The crowd roared their approval as the ringmaster welcomed everyone to The Greatest Show on Earth. As the lights came up, the dad pointed to acrobats in the ring to their right. And then there were clowns playing in the ring to their left. In the center ring there was a team of jugglers in bright costumes juggling all kinds of things.
The little boy was thrilled. Each time a new act jumped into one of the rings, the dad would point it out and draw his son’s attention to each of the new and exciting performances. They had been watching the tightrope performers down to their right and the clowns to their left when it was time for the lions and tigers in the center ring. Again, the lights dimmed and the ringmaster announced the highlight of the circus…the lions and tigers in the center ring. This is what the dad and his son had been looking forward to. As the lights came up and the lions and tigers began to roar in their cage in the center ring, the dad turned to his son to share this wonderful moment. But his son had fallen asleep.
My friend told me, “We had spent the entire day at the circus taking it all in…the sights and the sounds…the rides…the shows. My son was so immersed in all that was going on around him…that he missed the main event. He missed the one thing that was most important to him.”
As we race through our busy lives do we get caught up in all of the sideshows and all of the rides and all of the distractions of the world that in the end we miss the main event? Consider where your focus is during this most holy time of the Christian year. Make sure that your life…and the lives of those you hold dearest…doesn’t get caught up in all of the distractions the world has to offer. Make sure your first priority is living a life worthy of the Father.
Prayer: Father – help us to focus on you – the ‘main event.’ Help us to make you the priority.