This would be good advice for any of us. In this particular case it is what I would offer to my Great Grandson Elijah on his third birthday, trying out his new bat. We have recognized many platitudes for success;
“It’s tough trying to keep your feet on the ground, your head above the clouds, your nose to the grindstone, your shoulder to the wheel, your finger on the pulse, your ear to the ground, and your eyes still on the ball.”
We define the “ball” as an objective, a target, a challenge or an opportunity. Our thought is to connect… perhaps even drive it out of the park. The Word does not directly address this challenge, but it tells us to “look”. Gen.19 “Not behind thee” Gen. 15 ; “Look towward heaven” Prov. 4; “Let thine eye look right on” and Heb. 12 “Look unto Jesus”.
We may dream of driving a fast ball elsewhere as we score a single, double, three bagger, or a home run; perhaps even be responsible for allowing other team- mates to score. It is ultimately about connecting with great coordination and focus.
A young person learns about coordination by watching, experimenting and not just a few strike outs, and often tons of coaching. He learns focus the same way… but in that, the reward is the primary ingredient. Not everything is in the strike zone. Many victories are silent ones.
So often we may gain the praise and applause of others who depend upon us for “winning”. As notables like Lance Armstrong is learning the hard way; being stripped of his celebrity and metals for his shameful cheating and complicity; it is not about winning, but how you play the game. It is about for whom you play and whose rules you use.
This may be a simplistic repetition of what we all already know. But is it what we teach? Beyond our desire to see accomplishment by those we love, the teaching is in the “doing” one’s self. The only valid praise is the one rendered unto God for giving skills and then honoring the Spirit’s using them to His Glory.
In less than that spirit I can only say; yes, Elijah clobbered this second pitch; in what must have given testimony to God’s grace and interest in sports as a training ground for all of us who count it as a beginning of discipline and not an end to life’s mission. I say, none the less… “holy-moly Eli, that was cool! What number do you want on your uniform. I’m thinkin’ number (1).
Jesus, you’re the finisher.. I’m just a Grandpa… Do I hear an amen?