Tomorrow (Saturday), marks the first game of season of the Integrity League, a non-competitive baseball and softball league designed to teach game basics to young people of our area while facilitating the fundamentally (and eternally) more important goal of sharing the Word of God. Over the course of the season, participants are given an opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel.
Our children have had the privilege of participating for several years and I have been allowed to help coach. Those years when my wife and I had three children playing in three consecutive games made for long Saturdays!
One practical tip we try to teach young players is that they need to be careful to keep their eyes on the ball when batting and catching, and eyes on the target (their team mates) when throwing the ball. When they bat, looking away from the ball throws their swing off, fails to get their gloves where they need to be when catching, and sends the ball flying wildly when they’re throwing! Arms and legs are certainly important in baseball, but they’re useless in helping a player playing effectively if their eyes are not focused where they need to be.
The lesson in life for us, of course, is that we gravitate to those things on which we fix our gaze – literally and figuratively. It is true that our physical eyes focus our energies when throwing or batting. It is just as true that those things we look to in life in the larger sense also become the primary focal points of our time, resources, and energies.
If we’re busy looking to our friends, for example, then we will live and move in accordance with their fickle opinions. If we get caught up in all the “glitzy” things that fashion, glamor, or technology offer, then we will spend excessive amounts of time and money in securing such things for ourselves. If we are enamored with material things and the possession of them, then our minds will be filled with such thoughts continually and we will act accordingly. Even fitness can overly absorb our concentration and be the ultimate agenda around which we build our lives.
And to what end do such priorities lead us? What ultimate benefit does having our eyes on such goals bring us? Peer approval can unexpectedly reverse itself at any moment, material pleasures cannot provide any lasting sense of fulfillment, and even achievement and success can at best only temporarily provide a sense of purpose. Physical fitness, surprisingly, is only a temporary thing and can only ultimately delay what must inevitably come to each of us… death for death is certainly what we each ultimately face.
That is not to say that these things do not have value (for they each do in their own way and may serve us well if we keep them in their place). But misplaced priorities, those things on which our spiritual eyes are focused, only lead to the same conclusion: personal disaster… and there is no exception.
God’s Word in Philippians 3:19a says, “Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame.” Why is this so? Because “they are focused on earthly things” (Philippians 3:20b HSCB).
The Good News is that eyes focused on the right thing, namely Jesus Christ, always produce in the end a home run!
“Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself” (Philippians 3:20 HCSB).