ODJ: iFocus

June 13, 2018 

READ: Genesis 37:1-11 

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too (Philippians 2:4).

I wake up in cold sweats every so often thinking, What did we bring to the world?” Tony Fadell, who helped create the iPhone, voiced those words of concern over the self-absorption that can come with too much ‘iFocus’ in our use of technology. He noted that communication devices—though capable of much good—are designed to meet individual needs and aren’t always about what’s best for healthy family and community relationships.

Joseph and his family certainly had a bad case of ‘iFocus’. His father Jacob “loved him more than any of his other children” and even gave him “a beautiful robe”—making his select affections painfully clear (Genesis 37:3). Jacob’s preferential treatment of his young son showed a lack of good judgement and made Joseph a brightly coloured target for his jealous brothers (v.4). Relationships were rank as Jacob focused unhealthily on Joseph, the son of the wife he loved (29:28-30, 30:22-24). And when Joseph revealed the content of a dream that implied he would one day rule over his brothers (37:6-8), this led them to sink into deep bitterness.

When we focus on ourselves, relationships within our families and within the body of Christ suffer. Instead of ‘iFocus’, the apostle Paul suggested, we should learn to not “look out only for [our] own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (Philippians 2:3-4).

Joseph’s jealous brothers ended up selling him into slavery. Relationships in the family were eventually healed, however, when Joseph humbly forgave them and sought reconciliation (Genesis 45:1-8).

In God’s strength, may we choose to focus on others and their needs—avoiding the pitfalls of ‘iFocus’.

—Tom Felten

365-day plan: Matthew 2:13-23

Read Ephesians 4:31-32and consider how placing our focus on others can result in healthier relationships and bring God honour. 
In what ways have you been engaging in ‘iFocus’? What would it look like for you—in God’s strength—to be more focused on others and their needs this week?