Hugo Gernsback is known as the “father of science fiction” and an accomplished editor, author, and publisher. Grensback was also famous for his unconventional and eccentric inventions. Two of which were the “Plaslastic Expanso Bag” and the “TinCan-Can” (which I will leave you to research on your own time).
And then there was the Isolator. Driven by the rise in workplace distractions in 1925, Grensback offered a solution. “Resembling a large driver’s helmet, the Isolator would block the clickity-clack of office equipment, the ringing of phones and door chimes, and the chatter of coworkers. Through two small eyeholes, a person would focus solely on the work in front of him.”¹ While this may sound beneficial, these benefits would only last as long as the air in the oxygen tank allowed. Yes, that is correct. The mask was so isolating that an oxygen mask was needed to breathe while wearing it!
Bizarre? Absolutely. Effective? Probably not. Understandable? Without a doubt.
Among other things, being a Christian is about focus. Solomon, a man with varied interests that often turned his attention and his heart away from God, noted: “Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you” (Proverbs 4:25).
There are some things that catch our attention that shouldn’t. Remember the warning against focusing too much on the faults of our brethren (Matthew 7:3) or the warning about looking with lust at a woman to whom we are not married (Matthew 5:28). There are also cautions against looking to closely at our own need (Philippians 2:4); paying too much attention to tomorrow (Matthew 6:34); and spending a disproportionate amount of time thinking about the past (Isaiah 43:18; Ecclesiastes 7:10).
Like Peter on the choppy waves of Galilee, our eyes can tend to deviate from their intended target due to the distractions of daily living. The answer to spiritual distraction is not a spiritual Isolator that forces our eyes to narrow their focus while at the same time cutting off our access to the outside world. Instead, the answer is found in realizing that the One we are to focus on is bigger than any distraction that may come our way. Like David, let us be able to say, “I have set the Lord continually before me” (Psalm 16:8).– Wayne Jones
¹ Michael Hyatt, Free To Focus (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 2019), 205.