When the world seemed to shut down in March, many people thought that society would return to “normal” in a few weeks or, at worst, after a few months. As the cool Northeastern nights set in, “normal” seems like a distant memory. Coaches are dealing with the prospect of another season without sports, students are either bracing for remote learning, or deciding which mask goes with their outfit and teachers are learning how to wear a mask without sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Meanwhile, many of us are wondering when we’ll see the inside of our offices again. In times like these, I often ask myself, “are you zoomed out?”
After ten hours of interacting with faces on a screen, are we zoomed out? When we haven’t seen loved ones in months, do we stay zoomed out? When jobs are furloughed and wages are being cut, do we remain zoomed out?
The apostle Paul knew what it was like to change his way of life, feel isolated and experience hardship. How did he handle it? In his letter to the Philippians, Paul revealed the one thing he chose to focus on during trials; the glorious, eternal future he had with Christ.
“But I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 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 3:13b-14 NLT
According to scripture, each of us is running a race and eternal glory with God is our heavenly prize. How we run the race doesn’t determine whether or not we earn that eternity; we can’t but, thankfully, Jesus took care of that for us. No. How you and I run this race called life determines how many people get to experience Christ’s love with us and through us. When we stay zoomed out, we allow God’s light to shine through us amidst the circumstances and challenges surrounding us.
This eternal perspective can revolutionize every aspect of our day. Rather than disengaging during that remote meeting, we will lean in and ask God to connect us to the hearts of the people on our screens so we can be an example of God’s love (John 13:34-35). Instead of losing hope or surrendering to loneliness, we will find creative ways to connect with loved ones, encourage neighbors, and remind ourselves that, even if no one comes, God promised to be with us always (Matt. 28:20). When we are tempted to fearfully clutch onto our possessions rather than be generous with what we have, we will remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
Here are three simple things we can do when we need to regain an eternal perspective:
- Use the A.C.T.S. (Adore, Confess, Thanks, Supplication) prayer method to connect with God.
- Take a break. Get outside to clear your head.
- Find a group or individual that has a need and meet it. Use our words and actions to let them know how much God loves them.
Today, I pray that we see the bigger picture and help others do the same.
Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ – to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.
More information can be found at FCA.org.