In spite of the restart of the baseball season following the All Star break, for many sports fans yesterday was a Sunday to turn your eyes east. Between the final round of the Open Championship (known in the States as the British Open) and the final match of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup (played in Germany between the US and Japan), there were a lot of eyeballs focusing in the general direction of Europe for a truly exciting day of top-flight sporting events. It wasn’t just the fact that the events were happening—it is that they are such critical moments in their respective sports that they demanded the attention of the sports world. While there will be many more baseball games played this year, and all have significance of one degree or another, there will not be another Open Championship or World Cup final this year. Those very special moments not only demanded our attention, they deserved it.
As we follow Christ, there can many things—many of them very good—that can cry out for our attention and focus. But what are the things that most deserve our attention? This was at the heart of the apostle Paul as he sat in Rome under arrest. In the midst of a world of things that might clamor for his focus, some excelled the rest in significance—and he was determined to focus there. That is why he wrote:
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
“One thing” speaks of priority and focus. Of significance and worth. His aspiration was to focus on what really mattered… what was really important. That can be our desire as well, that as we move through life we can discern between the primary and secondary and focus on that which is most valuable. Paul saw the pursuit of Christ Himself as the highest kind of thing—the kind of thing that demands our attention.
Bill Crowder, Sport Spectrum Chaplain