My family and I love watching the Summer Olympics. I especially enjoy the track and field competitions. I remember one year a man from Jamaica was running in his signature race. It was a race he already held a record for and was the heavy favorite to win again. Some will remember as he left the starting line, sprinted to the front of the pack and was clearly in front. Just steps away from the finish line, with a clear lead, he proceeded to slow down and celebrate his impending victory. However, there was another runner close behind and closing in fast. Realizing he was about to be overtaken, Usain Bolt immediately stopped celebrating and had to struggle to finish the race in first place.
I recently attended a Children’s Pastor’s convention where a man named Robert Madu was giving a keynote speech. In this address, he brought a comparison between two men in our Bibles. 1 Samual 18 finds us right at the beginning of the struggle between Saul and David. David is returning from battle when chants among the people break out. “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” We read that this deeply troubled Saul and in verse 9 we are told that Saul began to turn his focus onto David.
Mr. Madu then took us to the book of Hebrews chapter 12 verses 1 and 2.
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so eagerly entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Did you catch it? “…fixing our eyes on Jesus…” When we compare these two examples we see one man take his focus and place it on someone else. Saul was so concerned about what David had, about what David was getting credit for, and how the people saw David as compared with himself. Hebrews tells us that we should fix our eyes on Jesus, we should not be concerned with what is happening around us or comparing ourselves to others.
Usain Bolt might have broken another world record that day had he kept his eyes on the finish line. However, he narrowly won the race and had to struggle to do so. Our world today has so many things to distract us and social media makes it very easy for us to compare our lives with others. I would encourage all of us to keep our focus on Jesus.
Fun board game you may not have heard of:
Shadows in the Forest