“Keep your eye on the prize.” This mantra has permeated society, reminding all of us to keep our focus on the proper priorities. Finding its origins in an old hymn, the phrase incites focus on whatever it takes for us to meet our goals, get to where we want to be. Everybody is encouraged to live life with their eyes on a prize, and to do whatever it takes to get to that thing, that point.
Recently, I caught myself muttering this phrase to myself. “Eye on the prize, Kelvey. Keep your eye on the prize.” I was in the pursuit of something, and I had encountered a roadblock. “Eye on the prize. Keep your eye on the prize.”
Suddenly, it struck me.
My eyes were on a worthless prize.
This thing I had been chasing was meaningless. Yes, would it have or could still lead to great things in my life? Sure. However, the energy I was spending chasing this ultimately worthless prize was appalling.
In his first letter to the Church at Corinth, Paul wrote,
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
‘Keep your eyes on the prize’ is indeed brilliant advice. The crucial point is what prize our eyes are focused on. Are you focused on a meaningless prize that will fade with this earth? Or, are you focused on a prize that has eternal value; something that will still be treasured when this earth crumbles and Heaven remains?
Keep your eyes on the prize, discipline yourself, beat your body and take it over to keep chasing after the prize. As long as it’s the love of Christ and his Kingdom that you’re pursuing, any loss for this magnificent prize will be worth it.
Any lesser prize is worthless.