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The Boy or Cap: What Is Your Focus?

The importance of proper priorities and appreciating our blessingsAn illustration from Winston Churchill helps us see the need for focusing on proper priorities and being grateful for our blessings.


A man saw a child fall into a lake and jumped in and saved his life. Soon afterward a woman came and asked if he was the man who pulled her son out of the lake. He modestly said that he was. She responded, “Well, where is his cap?” – Winston Churchill

Consider some lessons we can learn.


This woman should have been eternally grateful to the man who saved her son from drowning. Instead she complained to him because her son’s cap was lost!

How different are other people? People should be eternally grateful to God who gave His own Son to die to save us from eternal torment. But instead some people complain because not everything is to their liking.

Some quit the church because they say members aren’t friendly enough. Some complain about their health or finances. Some say they can’t believe in a God who allows suffering.

Luke 17:12-18 – Jesus healed ten lepers. One of them, returned, and fell down at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. Jesus said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”

Colossians 1:12-14 – Give thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

God offers us salvation and the hope of eternal life. To achieve this, He sacrificed His own Son. Do we appreciate the salvation God offers? Or do we focus instead on the difficulties we face in serving Him? Do we focus on the boy or the cap?


In the story, what should have been important to the mother: the fact her son’s life had been saved or the fact his cap was lost in the process? It was a problem of priorities.

How different are other people? God offers us forgiveness and hope of eternal life, but instead we focus on relatively unimportant things that we want.

Some miss church meetings because it’s too hard to get up in the morning. Others miss for entertainment or recreation. Others don’t study the Bible or teach their children or even obey the gospel because they are so busy with affairs of the world.

Matthew 6:19-21,33 – Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. … But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

John 6:63 – It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

What is really important to us? Are we like the mother who failed to appreciate the fact her son was saved because she focused on the lost cap? Or do we realize that God has given us the hope of eternal life in heaven with Him and the saved of all ages because He sent his son to endure the crucifixion on the cross for us?

Do you allow relatively unimportant things to hinder your service to God, or are you willing to give your life in service to God?

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(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 2018;

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Scripture quotations are generally from the New King James Version (NKJV), copyright 1982, 1988 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.

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