Eyes on the Prize

Saturday, September 12, 2020

I knew it was going to be a busy week so I rested before it got started. My week got even more complex due to a 7-hour commitment out of town. The only thing I could think was, "keep your eyes on the prize." 

Difficult weeks breed determined actions. I was determined to stay focused so I could succeed. Focus comes from knowing what really matters outside of my to-do list. 

My list actually got bigger as the week rolled by. My focus kept me untethered from distractions. Yes, a to-do list, though necessary, can be a distraction from what really matters. 

This week, and every week, what matters is God, family and health. When these three things are in check, everything else falls into place. 

During busy weeks, I ask myself: how will I face this week? Courageously or cowardly? The truth is, I can do either really well. I chose courageously because courage gives us the strength to move on. When I choose to be a coward, my strength is withdrawn and everything around me falls apart. 

The source of my courage is the God I serve and the work He called me to do. In order to rightfully keep my eyes on the prize during a busy week, I need to know my definition of prize. I let the Bible define "prize" for me and it is found in Philippians 3:12-16:

"Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind." Philippians 3:12-16 (NKJV)

The prize is is the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. It is a spiritual, heavenly prize that we pursue on earth. The prize I keep my eyes on is to be more like Christ, which means, to grow in my faith. 

Busy weeks are like clothes: everyone wears them. What we fail to do is to think of our faith walk during busy weeks. Are we counting on God's wisdom to navigate such weeks? Do we ask God for direction when we can't possibly add one more thing to our to-do list but we do it anyway? Do find refuge and strength in God's word, presence, and praises? Do we observe the Sabbath at the end of a busy week?

I'm choosing to believe that no matter what my professional and personal duties look like, I have an upward call of God in Christ Jesus. I don't take a vacation from that call when things are busy. 

We need to be agents of the Christian faith in a world that excludes God from daily life. The truth is, God is near. He wants to be near you when you are busy. I'm challenging you to draw near to God. Keep your eyes on the prize and hold on.