Boy, It’s Hard To Concentrate!

I envy people who are able to finish whatever they are doing in one sitting without being distracted. I also envy people who can use fragments of time effectively and not waste them. It takes a lot of time for me to do things. Even preparation takes time. It used to take me 2 hours to mentally prepare myself to mow the lawn while it only took 30 minutes to actually do it. So a long time ago my wife started hiring people to take care of our lawn because she didn’t have the patience to wait for me taking forever to make up my mind before doing it.

Naturally, it takes time for me to prepare a sermon also. In theory, when I finish outlining my sermon it should be as good as done except for the formality of typing it. In practice, this is far from the case, because of my concentration problems. For example, while I am typing, I suddenly remember someone I need to call. Or I feel a strong desire to check the church’s online message board or check if I’ve received any new e-mails in the past hour. Being so constantly sidetracked it’s no wonder sermon preparation takes forever. It brings new meaning to “eternal life”.

I deleted all the computer games from my office computer and laptop. Why? I found that once I started playing them, I could not stop. A 5 minute break often turned to a 30 minute break, delaying sermon preparation even more.

Saturday is the most pressure filled day for me because many people are waiting for me to finish my sermon. Baik In Young, the church secretary, waits for me to give her the sermon title so she can print the Sunday bulletin. Sister Park Yun Hi (temporarily now Park Ji Young) waits for me to give her the sermon outline so she can print the bulletin inserts. Brother Lee Bum No, Sister Lee Jung Bo, and Sister Kim Ai Ja wait for
the bulletins to be finished so they can put them into the church members’ mail boxes. Sister Baik Yun Sook waits for me to give her the Bible passages used in my sermon so she can make the overhead slides for the service. Sister Christina Chu waits for my sermon text so she can prepare for the simultaneous English sermon translation.

Knowing that so many people are waiting for me makes me more nervous and makes it even harder to concentrate. I visit the restroom repeatedly. I check my mail box over and over. I walk around aimlessly. The people waiting in the church office smile and say to themselves, “Tomorrow’s sermon must be tough to prepare!”

“Great art requires blood and sweat. If it can be done in a short time, it’s a commercial work, not true art. A good sermon is like a great art work. It requires time that seems wasted to those who do not understand art!” These are the kinds of thing I say to convince myself on those Saturday afternoons when sermon preparation drags on.

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