I can still hear my coach’s voice from high school track in my ear: “Eyes on the finish line!” This was something he’d constantly remind us of, whether it was on race day or in our practices throughout the week. It was good advice too.
I know there were many times when I was running on the track and I’d find plenty of things that could grab my attention. Sometimes I was looking to see who was in the stands, sometimes I was looking back to see who was behind me, sometimes I wanted to watch the throwers and jumpers doing their events in the field as I passed by.
The problem with this was that any time my eyes got focused on something else, it would negatively affect the way I was running the race. Looking back or getting distracted by other things usually slowed me down, sometimes it might cause me to start drifting out of my lane. Thus, my coach’s constant encouragement: “Eyes on the finish line!” It was a reminder to no get distracted or slowed down by other runners, spectators, or things going on around me. I was there to run a race, and if I wanted to do it well, I needed to make sure I kept my focus on giving everything I had to reaching the finish line.
Even though I don’t do much running anymore, sometimes I find I must remind myself of that advice. “Eyes on the finish line!” It’s a short phrase that helps me to remember to stay focused on the most important things and to make sure that I actually spend my time, energy, resources, and efforts on what really matters. I’ve found that in my life that what I focus on determines the direction I’ll go. With that in mind, it’s really important to make sure that we find the right focus.
There are so many things in our lives that we can get our eyes fixed on: problems at home, financial challenges, dealing with sickness, the upcoming election, covid restrictions, worries about the future. The list could go on and on. The challenge is that each one of these things can creep into our vision and demand our full attention. Without even really meaning to, our lives can start to center around any one of these issues simply because that’s where our focus is.
When I think about my life, I want to be able to look back and make sure that I spent it on what was most important. But with so many things clamoring for attention, how can I make sure everything takes its proper place on my priority list.
As I think about these realities, my mind goes to Hebrews 12:1-2a, which tells us, “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.”
While I may not have all the answers to every situation that comes in my life, this sure helps point me in the right direction. If I want to spend my life on what matters most, then I need to fix my eyes on Jesus. Why? Because He’s the one who perfectly ran the race before me. He knows the way I’m supposed to go, and He knows how to help me navigate each challenge and obstacle that will come my way. He’s the pioneer, and He’s the perfecter. When I make Him my highest priority and I prioritize listening to Him above all else, I know He will work things out.
This doesn’t mean other things are unimportant, but rather that whatever else is going on in my life can find its rightful place when Jesus is in His rightful place. Jesus assures us of this in Matthew 6:33 when He says, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
So, in the midst of all the chaos and the challenges of life right now, while I may not have all the answers I know who does. And the greatest encouragement I could give to you is to fix your eyes on Jesus. He’s knows the way, and He’ll get you where you need to go.