Kevin Larter – Junior High Pastor, Gilbert campus
“Keep your eye on the ball!” Better advice has never been given to a kid learning how to play sports. I grew up playing baseball and football and every single coach I ever had screamed those words at me. If you take your eye off the ball, even for a second, you won’t hit the ball or catch the ball—and you’ll usually look foolish in the process. Our eyes—our focus and our sight—are crucial to our success when it comes to sports. But then think of all the other popular phrases related to your sight: “Keep your eyes on the prize.” “Keep your eyes on the road.” “A bird’s eye view.” “Keep an eye out.” “Ready, aim, fire!”
These phrases all teach us a very important lesson in life: wherever you focus your attention, that’s where you will go. If you want to successfully catch a ball, look at the ball. If you want to successfully drive from one place to the next, keep your eyes off your cell phone and on the road. And if you want to hit the target, aim your gun at the bull’s-eye.
The writer of the book of Hebrews talks about this phenomenon…
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. – Hebrews 12:1-2
God has called each of us to run a race—a specific race—a race marked out precisely for us. And if we fix our eyes on Jesus, we can run this race with great success! The problem for all of us comes when we take our eyes off of Jesus and place them elsewhere—especially on other people. When we play the comparison game and look at everyone else’s races, we miss out on our own.
King Saul experienced this when he compared himself to David (1 Samuel 18:6-9). Peter experienced this while walking on water (Matthew 14:22-31). Teenagers experience this when they look at how many likes someone else’s selfie got on Instagram. I experience this when I get envious of another pastor’s preaching ability. I think we all experience this in our lives, and every time we do experience this it derails our self-confidence, damages our leadership ability, and prevents us from fully accomplishing everything God desires for us to do. But if we stay in our lane and keep our eyes on the prize (Jesus!), we’ll find both joy and success in our journey of faith!