Distraction Knocks Louder Than Opportunity


In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree:

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea…


Thus begins the famous fifty-four line poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge that many of us read in high school. What most people don’t know is that the poem, as originally inspired in Coleridge’s mind, consisted of somewhere between two hundred and three hundred lines.

Due to a lingering illness, Coleridge had moved into a small, secluded farmhouse in order to rest and regain his health. One day, after being given some medication (most likely, good ol’ fashioned opium) to ease his pain, he fell into a dream-like state in which 200-300 lines of verse about Kubla Khan entered his mind. Upon regaining full consciousness, he vividly recalled the poem in its entirety and began feverishly writing down the lines as quickly as he could.

Then, just as he was writing down line number fifty-four, there was a knock on the front door of his farmhouse. He put down his pen and went to the door. It was a man on business from the town of Porlock who ended up detaining Coleridge for over an hour with various inquiries and idle chit-chat. When the gentleman finally departed, Coleridge ran back to his writing table only to realize that the vision was gone forever. A monumental work was whittled down to a mere shadow of what it was meant to be because he had allowed himself to be distracted by a man from Porlock.

This illustrates one of the great pitfalls that Christians face – allowing ourselves to lose our vision because we’ve become distracted by idle interruptions and mundane business. Jesus has cast us a vision of becoming mature, Christ-like disciples, and making other disciples in the process. It’s a clear enough directive, but we allow other things – even good things – such as family, work or hobbies to distract us and take our eyes off the guiding vision of our life in Christ. The devil makes sure there’s always a “man from Porlock” knocking at our door in an attempt to disrupt our primary calling to follow Jesus. The ones who ignore the knocking and cling to Christ’s calling and vision are the ones who end up with lives that are “monumental” rather than mere shadows of what they were meant to be. 


Post by: Eron Elswick, Leadership Team

Worship – Grow – Serve


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