Keeping the Focus
I love to peruse antique stores. Within their walls lie pieces of the lives of our ancestors. I’ll see an antique radio, for instance, and picture its owner bending to turn it on. Did he hear about the bombing of Pearl Harbor on this radio? I imagine all their mundane chores – polishing shoes or cooking dinner – suddenly ceasing at that moment, everyone gathering around the radio to hear the news. Were he or his relatives called to war based on that announcement? It is each object’s connection to its owner and its impact which fascinate me about antiques.
Normally I don’t purchase a thing, but recently I found a pair of antique horse blinders. I’ve wanted a pair of them for quite awhile, so the purchase was an easy decision. A powerful horse once wore the blinders that I now own.
Do you know their purpose? Contrary to their name, horse blinders are not for covering the horse’s eyes like a mask. The blinders keep the horse looking forward so that they will not be distracted or afraid of things going on around them as they pull a wagon or run a race. They are a means of keeping the horse focused on the proper direction.
Paul says, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25) Horse blinders remind me of the focus Christians must have on Christ for our race. It is part of the self-control and discipline that is required for any worthy endeavor, but this more than any. Without focus, life can easily be frittered away.
This focus does not mean that we close our eyes to the world around us and ignore unbelievers. No, we reach out all the more, knowing that the prize ahead is the only one that ultimately matters and wanting the same for everyone. Nor do we ignore suffering. Only with the heart of Jesus can we reach out to others in any way of eternal significance. Otherwise we are just slapping on Band-Aids for temporary relief. We do, however, lay aside sin and anything else that hinders our race.
I expect some mocking for correlating horse blinders to the life of a Christian. Without looking at their purpose, “blinders” does sound rather close-minded. But that’s okay. The world does not desire to understand the things of God. As Christians, we know that we have a heavenly treasure that far outweighs any other, one abundantly worthy to receive our focus.
Hebrews 12: 1b-2 says that we are to “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Fix your eyes on Jesus, and never lose sight of the prize.