As everyone celebrated Andy Murray’s significant first Grand Slam win today, something in the news really caught my eye. And it wasn’t that Rado watch which he panicked over finding at the end of the match!
It’s a typical piece of photography, demonstrating the sportsman’s prowess. I must have seen similar photos a thousand times before. In this brilliant shot of Murray, he’s captured with racquet positioned optimally, yellow ball mid air, as he’s about to slice it precisely across the court. His eyes are focused intently on the ball as he readies himself to take aim and succeed against his opponent.
Murray’s impressive win would not have been possible if he had decided to take his eye off the ball, even for only just a few shots. Every shot has potential to change the course of the whole match. In his interview afterwards he shared that when he went for a break just before the fifth set, he told himself – “For one set, just give it everything you’ve got.”
At the end of it all, his body was in pain. He winced as he removed his trainers. The match had stretched his body to the limits. But it was worth it. He made history. He achieved his goal.
So what could Mr Murray possibly have in common with an incredibly cool, middle aged hip hop/ rock/dance artist from across the pond?
Having recently heard Toby Mac’s latest hit song “Eye On It”, I’m reminded of the parallels to be drawn from the sporting and spiritual arenas. Toby, a well known Christian artist currently topping the American Billboard charts, passionately sings:
I set my eyes to the west, walking away from it all
Reaching for what lies ahead, I got my eye on it
I see my sweat hit the ground
I put my foot in the block
This is the race of my life
And I can’t wait for this shot
As he hammers home his intent to focus on his spiritual journey, Toby highlights how the race for Christians isn’t a sprint; it’s a continual marathon which requires equal measures of concentration and commitment. Half hearted attempts at either sport or spirituality won’t stay the course or produce the desired result.
It’s easy to get distracted on the journey of life, phasing God out of our decisions or our joy. To reach that ultimate destination and to achieve the best that God has for us, requires us to do our part and give everything we’ve got (our “heart, mind, soul and strength” as Jesus exhorts us in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 12, verse 20).
We need to keep our eye on the ball. The apostle Paul speaks of fixing our eyes on Jesus, the “author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). If Jesus remains our focus, we know that we’ll come through to ultimately achieve a far greater prize than a silver cup or human acclaim.
To quote more from Toby Mac:
I’ve got my eye on the prize, I’ve got my eye on it
I’ve got my eye on the prize and I will not quit
Both Andy and Toby demonstrate their fixation with achieving what’s important to them. Today I’m challenged to renew my focus, to take inspiration from both the sportsman and the singer.
(Link to Toby Mac’s song, Eye On It…)