“I press on to reach the end of the race and
receive the heavenly prize for which God,
through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
– Philippians 3:14
As coaches, we go into every season with goals. There’s always a prize we’re chasing. It could be a state championship or maybe just to win more games than we did last season. Regardless of the goal, we know that it will take hard work and relentless pursuit to achieve them. During the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, American sharpshooter, Matt Emmons had all but won the gold medal. He was far ahead of his competition in the 50-meter rife competition and only a disaster could keep him from the greatest victory of his life. He looked through the scope, squeezed the trigger and watched as his round hit the bulls-eye.
Olympic gold! But wait, what were the judges talking about? It was then that Emmons realized he had fired on the wrong target! The mistake caused him to fall from first place to eighth place and out of the running for a medal. Emmons’s tragic error reminds us that while we should have a target to aim for in life, it must be the right one!
The Apostle Paul knew the importance of setting goals. Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians handcuffed to a guard in a dark and filthy prison. Even in the worst of circumstances, Paul kept his faith and continued to pursue heavenly goals. Regardless of Paul’s suffering, he longed for Jesus Christ. This gave him unending hope and the motivation to keep pressing on. As God’s people, it’s important that we set goals that are consistent with God’s will for our lives and then press on in the direction of those goals. Living a life that is pleasing to God should be our primary goal. Paul had it tough, things didn’t always go his way. However, God gave him His strength when he needed it. He will do the same for you.
Heavenly Father, help me to keep my eyes on the right targets today. Give me Your strength to handle the tough times when they come. Keep me in Your perfect will. Amen.