I remember long ago riding my bike as a young teen to a local strip mall to hang out with a friend. Back then there were no rules about not riding on the mall sidewalks so my friend and I were making sport, racing around shoppers. Eager to check my lead, I looked back at my friend when suddenly—PANG—I was lying on the ground with a bruised knee and a nice “sidewalk rash.” I had careened right into a trash can. Embarrassed by the scene I had made, I hobbled up, righted the trash can and disappeared around the nearest corner.
While I haven’t hit a trash can since, there have been plenty of times I’ve made a similar mess by taking my eye off what I was called to do. Usually it happens for the same reason as it did in my youth; I’m getting my value from the things behind me instead of being drawn unrelentingly by the prize in front of me. Jesus had a similar reminder for those who would pursue life’s greatest prize: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)
Your thoughts? Are there some things (e.g. regrets, bitterness, nostalgia, envy) that are taking your eye off the prize?