Where's Your Head?
Wednesday - July 29th Scripture to Read for Today's Devotional: Colossians 3:1-10
Today's Selection from our Sermon on the Mount Reading Plan: Matthew 6:25-34
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
While no one ever anywhere has said "Shawn Thornton," "jock," or "athlete" in the same sentence, I have played sports and enjoyed it. As a kid, I played in a rural fast-pitched softball league and participated in school soccer and basketball teams as a young teenager. I loved participating in organized sports then and have enjoyed playing tennis and golf over the years as an adult. But, no one who has known me for even as little as five minutes, would consider me a jock or athlete. I have learned some crucial life-lessons by participating in athletics - especially organized sports.
During my seventh-grade year at Brethren Christian School in Osceola, Indiana, I played on the Junior High Basketball team. We were all gangly, awkward teenagers in the throes of puberty. Thirteen-year-old basketball players can get easily distracted and miss a key move in running a play or stay inside the lane over three seconds and get called for it. We were no exception. I was no exception.
Mr. Roberts, our coach, was the father of some kids in the school. His coaching included key coaching phrases, which I will never forget. Over the years, they have applied to my life and leadership just as much as basketball. One phrase was a simple question. He asked it a lot of our group of squeaky-voiced adolescent boys. "Where's your head?"
Our failures often occurred because we were distracted by a family member or friend in the stands, something wrong on the scoreboard, or a daydream that had nothing to do with the game. There were times he asked the whole team. Other times he directed his question toward one player. I will never forget the time I did something dumb (though I can't remember what anymore), and during a timeout, Mr. Roberts looked me in the eye, and in front of everyone said, "Shawn, where was your head?" I had no answer. He continued, "Guys if you don't have your head here in the game, we can't win!"
That became a valuable life lesson for me. Much of life hinges on that idea. To accomplish critical things, our minds have to focus on what truly matters. It is too easy to get distracted in life. It is also too easy to get distracted in our spiritual lives.
In his letters to various first-century churches, the Apostle Paul often wrote about how essential it is to have our minds focused on the right thing, spiritually. He clarifies that our minds need to focus on the eternal things of Heaven, not the temporary things of earth. That is easier said than done. Life can be so confusing. The trials and temptations we experience can get us so focused on what's happening now that we forget how what is happening now impacts eternity.
Over the years, as I have walked with God, there have been times that I have lost focus. During those times, the Holy Spirit has whispered gently to me, "Shawn, where is your head?" Sadly, the answer is always "focused on the earthly stuff." The Spirit prompts me to raise up my eyes beyond this temporary life and see the heavenly eternal values.
With so much tension, confusion, disagreement, and frustration in our world right now, it is easy to focus on earth's temporary stuff. We can get caught up in debates over things that will last months or years and neglect the very mission of God that has eternal consequences. Don't get me wrong. We must pay attention to what is happening in our world - in our everyday lives. But, we cannot focus on what is happening on earth more than we focus on what is eternal in Heaven.
Where's your head? Are you so focused on issues related to COVID-19, the economy, wearing or not wearing a mask, or other earthly things that you no longer focus on the things above? If you feel the answer is not about the things above more than the things right here on earth, then choose to "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things" (Colossians 3:2). CLICK HERE for an article with "10 Encouraging Psalms of Praise and Thanksgiving." For the next ten days, read one of these psalms each evening before you fall asleep. Let God's Word lift your eyes to the eternal!
Set your eyes on the eternal, not the temporary!