I went and bought some tennis shoes (which are now called court shoes by the way), and a friend of mine kindly loaned me a racquet (since I didn’t own one any more) and offered to take me out to a court and feed me some really easy balls to hit.
Well . . . as we discussed last week, I checked my grip. Good. I bounced on my toes. Legs seemed to be working. I moved to get into position. Not quite so good, but about 75% of the time I was in the right spot. But my hitting wasn’t crisp. Even though the racquet was about twice the size of what I used to play with, I wasn’t hitting the sweet spot.
The problem? I was taking my eye off the ball.
This is a crucial error many athletes at all levels make. We have seen the pro receiver have the ball literally in his hands only to drop it because he looked toward the end zone too soon. Baseballs have been whiffed, fly balls dropped, golf balls shanked or topped, and tennis balls thunked on the frame because at the last minute the player looked up or ahead or anywhere rather than staying focused on the ball.
The results are frustrating and often we want to just give up, but it’s our own fault.
Too often in our Christian walk we “take our eye off the ball” as well, the ball being the one thing God wants us to be focusing on at the moment rather than 1) the future, 2) those watching, 3) what’s happening around us, 4) potential consequences, etc.
Peter slipped beneath the sea when he took his eyes off of Jesus and onto the storm around him (Matthew 14:30). Conversely, one of the greatest Biblical characters to stay focused was Noah, who steadfastly worked for 55 to 75 years on building an ark, most likely amid derisive comments by the locals.
Many of the heroes of the faith stayed focused on what God asked them to do, not questioning where He had placed them or the circumstances they were in. Instead trusting Him: Joshua, Daniel, Esther, Joseph, Paul, Rahab, Gideon, Ruth.
Though the advice in Proverbs 4:27 was given to youth to instruct them not to veer from a righteous path, the advice not to “turn to the right or the left” is useful for our eyes, heart, and focus as well.
Let’s not succumb to the world’s distractions or Satan’s deception. Instead, let’s keep our eyes on God.