Eye On The Prize:
My bride and I were talking this past weekend. I’ve grown weary of technological laden stories and have reached a point where I want stories that speak to me. At a personal level. It seems everyone has gone high tech, and storytelling seems to be all about comic book character, nothing done unless it comes from computer animation, or Disney themed laden with stories modified so as to not scare the little ones. Super heroes, shoot ‘me ups, violence, war…
I just want a good story.
Something that reveals the depth of characters when you peal back their layers like an onion. A subject matter that speaks to the core of an important subject. Nobility. Morals. Overcoming incalculable odds. Searching and finding a nugget of truth in hard adversity. How to be who you were meant to be even when the odds are weighing you down. Or even, a simple story that simply affirms what you already knew, but it feels good to relive the learning.
How about you…? Want something good and valuable?
Looking through my computer files (okay, I’m high tech in some areas!), I was looking for something that Sparked an Interest. Something I could wrap my thinking around, dig into a little, and find something that will challenge and affirm me, and my direction.
I found one. It may not affect you like it affected me, but then, we each need something different in life for our current situation. Here goes.
At 10 minutes to seven on a dark cool evening in Mexico City in 1968 John Stephen Akwari of Tanzania painfully hobbled into the Olympic Stadium — the last man to finish the marathon. The winner had already been crowned, and the victory ceremony was long finished. The stadium was almost empty as Akwari –alone, his leg bloody and bandaged–struggled to circle the track to the finish line.
A journalist, Bud Greenspan, watched from a distance. Then, intrigued, Bud walked over to Akwari and asked why he had continued the grueling struggle to the finish line. The young man from Tanzania answered softly,
“My country did not send me 9,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 9,000 miles to finish the race”. [Video Source]
As I look back over my life, I see things differently. I remember the times I did quit, and walk away from an obligation. Should I have stuck it out? Maybe. Was it best to walk? Perhaps. But the point is, I’m looking backwards, instead of moving forward. And when you look back at what you’ve done in your past, it may not match what you are planning for the future.
Do not let your past dictate to your present or future self.
Too often we let life tell us to quit, and walk away, but there are opportunities to prove our personal strength to persevere through the challenge.
My bible teaches me over and again, it’s not about the battle I’m currently facing, rather, it’s about getting to the finish line. Jesus tells us to “endure” till the end (Matthew 10:22). The Apostle Paul tells us a number of times to focus on the finish of our race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Hebrews 12:1-2, Romans 8:36-39).
In fact, take all of this into account, and we can buy into Paul’s letter to the church in Rome that we are “…more than conquerors”. More than winning for an earthly prize, there is prize that is more eternal and spiritually important.
Rewards of medals or gold will not mean more than hearing, “Well Done” (Matthew 25:21-23). Is that not what we aim for? Recognition by Jesus and not men’s applause? (John 12:43)
How will we receive this recognition? By finishing the race. That’s the focus. Keeping our eye on the prize does not mean that we ignore the challenges along the way, only that what we face today should not sway our focus. One Iota. We may stumble along the way, but there will be a day like no other, a reward like none down here can give.
On a Side Note:
One of my influencers is a man named Michael Hyatt. You can find him at michaelhyatt.com , and read of his accomplishments in life. Just yesterday, as I was preparing my message for church that is the source of this current blog, he sent out an email that I did not read until today. Just a few minutes ago, in fact. He references a poem, and no one knows the exact source, but it is appropriate to add to my thought for today.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit—
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.