Saturday, March 25, 2017

Keep Your Eyes on the Ball

This is a great "Dad/Son story":
“My 7-year-old son seems to have natural abilities for sports, and most recently, for baseball. I’ve taken him for batting cage practice, I throw the ball to him a lot and I go with him to his team’s practice, but I don’t really know what to tell him to do because I wasn’t a baseball player. I really did want to help him so I asked one of my “jock” friends, “What should I do to help him? My friend responded “He’s seven. You only need to tell him one thing…..”WATCH THE BALL! It works for any sport when you’re seven…..just WATCH THE BALL!” I loved that. He said “Keep your eyes on what is the most important thing….the ball. That one thought will provide the foundation he needs for any sport that he’ll play."

I remember when my sister-in-law and I took golf lessons together. We’d swing our club to hit the ball and miss it, or we’d hit the ball and it would only go about three feet. The golf pro repeatedly said to us: “Keep your eyes on the ball!” WATCH THE BALL! All three of us eventually determined that golfing probably wasn’t our sport. One, because we laughed ourselves silly when we were together, and two, because we just couldn’t keep our eyes on the ball.

I loved this second photo here of a T-Ball coach telling the adorable little boy "Keep your eye on the ball (from a YouTube video) ). The little guy literally put His eye on the ball. I loved, even more, when the coach lovingly hugged the boy and showed him what he meant. I think of our Heavenly Father, when we’re focusing on all the distractions, issues, anxieties and worries of our lives, and Him taking our faces in His loving hands and saying “LOOK at ME! Watch Me! Focus on Me!”

All sports players have been taught that “Watch the Ball” principle, and now it’s a habit for them, and that’s the habit that has served them well. It’s getting all distractions out of the way and focusing their attention on “the right things”. I gave that analogy to emphasize the importance of keeping our eyes on Jesus and His Word so that we can stop the intruders of our thought life that try to come in and steal our peace and joy from us.

Hebrews 12:2 says “We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith….” When we take our eyes off Him and His Word, life will take our eyes to so many things – the wrong things – the distracting situations, people and problems. It works for successful athletes who have developed a habit of keeping their eyes on the ball. Perhaps we would be become successful and fruitful followers of Christ, if we habitually focus our attention on Him and His Word.

Twila Paris sang this song and it still blesses me and reminds me where my eyes should be focusing today:
I'm not looking behind me, at mistakes I've already made.
Hope is living inside me. I believe that my debts are paid.
Trusting You now, I know I can make it
I made a vow, I don't want to break it

Lord, I'm keeping my eyes on You, following You, following You.
My Lord, I'm keeping my eyes on You, following You,
Following You, my Lord.