Sunday, December 15, 2013

“Keep your eyes on the prize for you can’t hit an unseen target but don't forget you’ll pay a price.” ― Bernard Kelvin Clive

One of my favorite stories (that I used for the first time at an ecumenical Thanksgiving service in Winslow, Arkansas, in 1986) is about three little boys standing on the top of a snowy hill looking down at a lone tree at the bottom of the hill.  The boys were arguing about the best way to walk straight to the tree.  One of the boys maintained that you just had to look down at the marks your feet made in the snow.  He argued that if you just put each foot exactly in front of the previous footmark in the snow, you would walk straight to the tree.  So, he proceeded to do just that.  With his head down, and looking only at his feet he walked to where he thought the tree would be.  He missed it by over thirty feet.  Of the two boys remaining, one insisted that you had to turn around and walk backward keeping your eyes on where you had started.  He told the last remaining boy to stand very still while he walked backward down the hill focusing on the boy still standing at the top of the hill.  When he got to the bottom, he was off by more than forty feet.  The last boy, with no one left with whom to argue, just set off keeping his eyes fixed on the tree.  Because the hill was covered in snow, he couldn’t see the large rocks and occasional roots under the snow and he stumbled several times, but each time he got back up, focused on the tree, and, of course, walked straight to it.  Well folks, the tree is Jesus.  Far too many Christians walk through life like the first boy—looking down at everything.  Far too many Christians spend all their time looking at what used to be.  We need to keep our eyes up—focused on the tree that is Jesus Christ.  The Biblical reference is Philippians 3:13-14  “Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”  What Paul didn’t say was that we would stumble over and over, but to get back up and keep “straining forward to what lies ahead.”  And back during the sixties, when my wife and I were active in the civil rights movement, there was an African-American spiritual “Eyes on the Prize” with a verse I will never forget—nor should you.
  “Wouldn't take nothing for my journey now, Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on.”
Amen and Amen.

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