Keep your eye on the ball

Keep your eye on the ball.  That's what my coach told me when I was playing little league baseball at 12 yrs old.  While I'm not playing much baseball, it's still pretty good counsel now.  Be focused on what REALLY matters and lock your attention there!  Hmmmmm.  That's harder than it sounds, isn't it?  The temptation to be distracted by the multiplicity of things going on around me is astounding.  Each and every week there are a variety of needs - health needs, financial needs, fundraising needs, leadership needs, missional needs not to even mention the spiritual needs - that come through my door.  It's easy to get distracted and think that pastoring is all about "putting out fires."
Furthermore, when you throw in some people who don't trust me (for reasons only they know) or suspect I've got foul motives (I wish I was as clever or devious as some people believe me to be) and the temptation to forget why I started in this is HIGH!  So to remind myself - and maybe you as well - I'm writing myself a note to be mindful of why keeping a clear head is necessary.  

Keep your eye on the ball - God calls me time and again to be mindful that I'm serving Him first.  His opinion is the only one that really matters.  

Keep your eye on the ball - I want to love Jesus more than I fear people.  

Keep your eye on the ball - be mindful that there are eternal things, but opinions aren't among them.  

Keep your eye on the ball - there are people with crushing burdens - when eternity is literally hanging in the balance! - who need me to be focused on hearing from God and listening to Him, not others.  They come to see me or my staff expecting that we will have spent time with the Lord and be ready to offer a word of hope, encouragement and (hopefully) wisdom.  

Keep your eye on the ball - Critics are a dime-a-dozen.  I was told long ago "you can't stop to listen to every mule in the pasture when you're walking past - you'll never get where you're going!"  

Keep your eye on the ball - we've got a city (and a county, and a state, and a nation, and a WORLD!) desperately in need of Jesus.  I don't have time for small opinions or small minds when people are literally going to Hell all around me.  

Keep your eye on the ball - Sunday is coming (quickly!) when people will gather to receive a word from God.  It's my privilege (not my job!) to bring it to them.  That demands clear thinking and resolve to stay close to the Lord and let him lead me as opposed to being driven by opinion polls or what I think people want.  

Finally - Keep our eye on the ball - my work as pastor isn't a job.  It's a calling.  Even if CBC fired me today (not that such a thing is likely), I would still be a pastor.  I'm called to it and bent for it.  And I couldn't imagine doing anything else.  

Your list probably will look remarkably different from mine but do yourself a favor - keep your eye on the ball.  


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