A young woman stands at the head of a long runway, a wooden baton in her hand. At her side sits an eager German Shepherd, quivering. The woman swings the baton in front of the dog’s nose, then pitches it to the far end of the runway. The dog shoots down the runway, ignoring the bowls of food and snacks laid out along its sides, grabs the baton and races back to his mistress. He drops the baton at her feet and sits down. He looks very pleased with himself. Really. He does.
Another young woman takes her place at the head of the runway. The bowls of food and treats are still in place. A Golden Retriever sits at her side. He looks around and wags his tail. The baton is waved and tossed. The Retriever heads off, but spots a bowl of food and grabs a bite. He gets a bit further but that bowl of treats is just too tempting. A few more steps but oh, there’s another bowl of fragrant food just made for him. At the half way point the dog is so distracted he ends up turned around and heading the wrong way.
I laughed out loud the first time I saw this video. We own two golden retrievers and I know that’s exactly how they would perform if given the chance.
And it’s a lot like how I perform at times. Distractions abound and sometimes I just can’t resist. There’s that internet expert promising a six figure income if I just follow his plan. There’s that renovation show on T.V. that makes me drool – oh if only I could have a kitchen like that! There’s that car I keep seeing in my neighbourhood that makes me imagine driving through the countryside of southern France. And then there’s Facebook and all those games you can play on an ipad. And on and on and on.
The days can fly by with little if anything getting done for the Kingdom of God because I’m chasing after the bowls filled with dreams and promises. And sometimes, like that golden retriever, I end up going the wrong way altogether.
It’s then I have to stop and ask myself, okay, what is the right way? How can I get down that runway to the goal God has assigned me? It’s then I have to remember what my calling is all about – the calling to glorify Him in everything I do – and connect again with the One who designed it for me. I want to be like that German Shepherd, eager to please my Master and running with all I have, to do what He wants me to do. I want to focus on the true prize, not a reward, not a treat that will be devoured in seconds, but a life-giving relationship that is eternal.
So, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
May we all “run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24).