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Chess players can’t stop touching their faces: Focus in a day of distraction

Dr. Jim Denison is the CEO of Denison Forum.
His Daily Article and podcast globally reach over 160,000 subscribers. Dr. Denison guides readers to discern today’s news—biblically. He is the author of multiple books and has taught on the philosophy of religion and apologetics at several seminaries. Prior to launching Denison Forum in 2009, he pastored churches in Texas and Georgia. He holds a Ph.D and a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jim and his wife, Janet, live in Dallas, Texas. They have two sons and four grandchildren.

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Category Culture

Chess players competing in a tournament on the edge of Siberia are cleaning their hands regularly and undergoing twice-daily medical checkups. But they are struggling to stop touching their faces.

According to neurologists, there is a direct connection between heavy cognitive stress and “spontaneous facial self-touches.”

Focus for chess players can apparently be dangerous in a day of coronavirus. But in a time when we are working from home and the news bombards us with distractions, it can also be vital for our souls.

Focus in a day of distraction

In Exodus 31 we read, “The LORD said to Moses, ‘See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship” (vv. 1–3).

For what purpose?

“To devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft” (vv. 4–5).

Bezalel’s gifting and calling were to make the tabernacle, known as the “tent of meeting,” with all that it would include (vv. 7–11).

It was vital that Bezalel do the work for which God equipped and called him. If he allowed his ego or the needs and acclaim of others to push him into other arenas, he would have missed his best and God’s best for him.

Unfortunately, such distractions are especially tempting.

It can be easy to become bored with what we do best, or our pride drives us to show that we can do even more, or we allow the needs of others to constitute our call.

This is especially true with those who are gifted in such a way that they can measure success by the acclaim of others. I’m thinking of artists, performers, preachers, and writers (myself included).

If you’re not sure of your spiritual gifts, I invite you to take this inventory that our ministry offers. You can also assess your abilities and calling by defining your influence.

In what ways do you seem most able to serve others?

What do you do that seems to produce the greatest sustained benefit?

What do you do that brings the deepest inner satisfaction and sense of “oughtness”?

In a time of crisis, our culture needs us to be more focused on our Lord and more able to serve others than ever before.

So, let me ask you: how would you complete the sentence, “My ministry is __________________”?

In other words, what is your Bezalel calling today?

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