Victoria Advocate, A Different Perspective
Every playoff season, I’m reminded of something my mom said years ago. We were discussing the outcome of a Cowboy game—it was one of their rollercoaster seasons—and she said in a matter-of-fact tone, “It just depends on who shows up.”
Her remark may sound like a mystery, but most sports fans know her words ring true. From week to week, some teams are ready to play, and others go through the motions. Of course, no one ever wants to admit that, but it’s easy to get unplugged. Most of the time, we don’t deliberately set out to do an inferior job, we just get our eyes off the goal, then find ourselves in a muddle.
Life offers plenty of legitimate distractions. On the playing field, injuries happen, and we lose focus. It’s also easy to get offended because of a bad call. But if we can’t shake it off, the offense takes center stage, and our best sits on the bench. Social media offers many opportunities for distraction and offense. My daughter’s volleyball coach used to tell the girls to “leave the day at the door,” because inevitably, something had happened during the school day. Practice wouldn’t go well unless the players made a conscious effort to set offenses aside and concentrate on volleyball.
Trouble is, distractions are so common, we downplay our inattentiveness to non-life-threatening levels.
But we only get one life.
In the Old Testament, the Israelites didn’t like their form of government. Their eyes were on the nations surrounding them, and they begged God for a king. So He gave them the desire of their hearts. According to the Lord’s instruction, Samuel the prophet appointed Saul, a handsome, gifted young man as king. But Saul’s head got turned. He listened to what people thought he ought to do instead of listening to God. Eventually, he disobeyed a direct order from Samuel, usurped the role of priest, and took the duty of animal sacrifice into his own hands. Even if you’re not familiar with biblical dos and don’ts, it’s not hard to figure out Saul crossed an irrevocable line. So much so God was sorry he made Saul king.
Some of you may think what Saul did wasn’t so bad, but it’s not our perspective that counts here. Saul lost his kingdom because he ignored an absolute truth—God is sovereign, not us. Saul forgot that “God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3) And his kingship was given to a pure-hearted young shepherd boy named David.
David was a beloved king, but he also got distracted from his purpose. Instead of showing up for battle, he stayed home and committed adultery with another man’s wife, then had the husband killed so his sin wouldn’t be discovered. However, David humbled himself and repented when he was found out. Saul did no such thing—he attempted to cast the blame onto others.
It matters whether our head is in the game. Physical appearance isn’t enough. We need to engage our whole hearts in whatever tasks we’re assigned—show up in every sense of the word. And when we blow it or don’t get any breaks, keep fighting. God is still watching to see what we’re made of. People are too.