The Small Things That Send You Into the Ditch

A moth once caused me to wreck my car.

OK … it is probably more accurate to say that my unwise response to a moth caused me to wreck my car.

I was maybe 16 or 17 and was driving home on a dirt road from my best friend’s house at night. As I was driving, I noticed a moth fluttering around across the inside of my windshield. While continuing to drive, I skillfully grabbed the moth with my hand. It wasn’t quite like the Karate Kid catching a fly with chopsticks but the skill level required was easily a close second (in case you’ve forgotten that scene or are too young to know what I’m even talking about, click here).

So I caught the moth in my hand, rolled down the window, and tossed him out . . . except that it managed to resist the overpowering wind force on the way out and fluttered it’s way back in. This moth had a serious agenda.

I managed to catch him once again. This time I was going to make sure that he was leaving and never coming back. I reached my arm out the window and let go, turning my head for a few seconds just to make sure he was gone once and for all. When I looked back toward the dirt road in front of me, I realized my left wheels were headed toward the ditch on the left side. No problem . . . I jerked the steering wheel back to the right only to discover an important universal law governing the relationship between gravel and friction. My car quickly spun 180 degrees to right and came to an abrupt and jarring rest in the opposite ditch on the right side. I REALLY messed up my car. I’m certain the moth thought all of this was hysterical.

Distractions come in all shapes and sizes, but the playing field is level: small ones can be just as catastrophic as big ones.

We can all agree that some of the most common small distractions include social media, TV, and cat videos. However, the truth is that the thing often keeping us from doing enormously impactful ministry is other less impactful ministry. Yes, we all get sidetracked by useless stuff, but what is often more difficult to recognize are the useful (but less important) things that keep us from doing our best work.

When you think about the work you are doing in your church and community on behalf of kids, here are a few questions for you to consider:

  1. What is the most impactful thing you intended to get done last week but didn’t complete it because some smaller less important activity got in the way?
  1. What is the most single most impactful thing you intend to do next week?
  1. What are the smaller things that might be tempting you to lose focus?

This post originally appeared in our Foster Roster e-newsletter which is delivered each Friday. We keep it short and sweet and fill it with practical articles, videos, blog posts and other tools for leaders like you working to help kids and families in foster care.  To sign up, go to