Keeping Our Eyes Fixed on Jesus

August 18, 2019

Distractions come in so many ways.  We are a society that has prided itself on multi-tasking.  As this has become something seen as a positive, we continue to support the habit of doing many tasks and many things in rapid succession.  The electronic world of text messages, Snap Chat, Instagram and Twitter has challenged us to respond instantly, to have more than one conversation going at the same time and to limit the way we stay focused.  Staying focused for many is a momentary thing before we move on to the next thing in the next moment.  Because of this, today’s letter to the Hebrews offers us a real challenge.  Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus means it is not just a passing and momentary thing.  He tells us to persevere in running the race that lies before us, keeping our focus on Jesus.

One of the marathons I researched and ran was in St. George, Utah.  I was fascinated by it.  Participants were driven 26.2 miles up a canyon in school buses in the dark.  Because there was no power, no electricity at the start line, runners warmed up around campfires.  It was a unique start and a memorable race.  It got very hot in the canyon and the year I ran there was record breaking heat. While it was supposed to be more downhill than uphill, there was a part of the road that went up two miles on an incline with no break.  I obviously did not do all the research I needed, but for me what just took my heart away was that while there was no one on this canyon road, the mile markers were marked with huge silver balloons on long yellow tethers.  The problem was you could see it for a mile in the distance and as I kept putting one foot in front of the other, the balloon waving in the heat always seemed far away.  It was so discouraging.  It seemed like it never got any closer.  Finishing that race was a struggle.  They ran out of water and cups in the last miles due to the extreme conditions.  We were told to run with our cup from one water table to the next.  It was only due to the sheer desire to finish because I had traveled so far that I actually finished.  I kept my heart fixed on finishing.

What we keep our hearts fixed upon has the power to lead us, energize us and bring us forward.  The balloons were not a good thing for me to look at.  I just got caught up into how far away, how long it would take to get to them.  Fixing my gaze on that actually slowed me down.  I doubted my training and I questioned my reason for running the race.  Only when I fixed my gaze inward, on why I came, on how overcoming obstacles would bring me joy and staying true to the realization that finishing was the only option, could I then move my legs in the right direction.  It also didn’t hurt that the rental car to take me back to my hotel was at the park near the finish line.

What we fix our eyes on has the power to lead us.  Jesus is the one, He speaks to our hearts, and He has the power to transform us.  Many as they get close to death get what I call “the look.”  They are looking beyond the room and beyond the bed they are in and looking at the angels coming to visit them.  As they fix that gaze, they are able to surrender their last breath and move from death to new life.  It is a beautiful event.

Let’s fix our eyes on what matters most to our salvation, Jesus.

Reverend  John J. Ouper