News and Tribune

January 10, 2013

MAY: After God’s heart

By TOM MAY
Local columnist

— I enjoy taking photographs.

I don’t care enough about it to guarantee that I will take good photographs. I haven’t invested enough study to know the lighting, distance and settings necessary for a good picture. I haven’t invested enough money for a camera that has the capability of always producing a good picture. And I haven’t invested enough time for practicing taking pictures. But I still enjoy taking them, hoping that one out of a hundred will be really good.

One of my favorite kinds of pictures to take is fireworks. I have seen spectacular, perfect pictures of fireworks and I love the colors and splendor they capture. So when I have a chance to see fireworks, I get out my camera and snap away. Obviously, I love the Thunder Over Louisville fireworks extravaganza kicking off the events leading up to the Kentucky Derby. The fireworks display is one of the largest in the world and literally covers the downtown sky. I easily take two to three hundred pictured during that time.

One of the biggest challenges in taking these pictures is knowing where to focus. Fireworks are going off all around. The temptation is to move the camera and try to focus and capture the newest bursts of light and color. But I have found that my best pictures come when I focus on one spot in the sky and then snap the pageantry as it invades the boundaries of my lens.

Staying focused in life is every bit as difficult. So many things are exploding around us, the temptation is to turn our head and capture the newest bursts of color. The bigger television. The faster car. The newest iPhone. The better-paying job. Everyone is dangling an apple. Care for a bite?

When I pause long enough to reflect back — to look at the photographs I have taken, if you will — I notice that when I chase after the newest and the biggest, the pictures are mostly just blurred. My life does much better when I focus on one thing and allow the pageantry of life to invade the boundaries of that lens.

I decided a long time ago that I wanted to be a man after the heart of God. The Bible uses that phrase to describe David — the David who killed Goliath; the David who was arguably Israel’s greatest king. It is also the David who lusted after his neighbor’s wife and had her husband sent to the battlefront for a sure death. It is the David who wasn’t always a good father, who sometimes was greedy, who didn’t always make the right decision. Yet he is known as a man after God’s own heart.

Living after God’s heart isn’t about taking every picture perfectly; it’s simply about knowing upon Whom to focus.

  — Tom May is the Minister of Discipleship at Eastside Christian Church in Jeffersonville. He is an adjunct instructor in the Communications Department at Indiana University Southeast.