Who Gets the Best of Me? Lessons I Learned from a College Student
The other day I was running on the indoor track at the Wellness Center on the campus of Oklahoma Baptist University. This is a small track in which 10 laps make 1 mile. On one end of the track, there is an area with several exercise machines and workout mats. On this particular day, I happened to notice a young man standing in the exercise area doing absolutely nothing. Typically, people are stretching, using the machines, or doing some other form of exercise. However, he was just standing there. After the second or third time I passed him, I noticed him looking a little nervous. He was looking around and wringing his hands. I started to get a little concerned for the young man, but then when I passed him the next time he had positioned himself to see the front door to the building. Each time I passed him, his gaze was fixed on the door. It was at this moment that it dawned on me- this guy was waiting for a girl!
I have to admit, running on that small track for any length of distance can make you lose your mind. So, I was glad for the distraction of watching this drama unfold. Obviously, the girl was late and the guy was getting nervous. Each time I passed him, I could see the mixture of panic and heartbreak on his face. I was starting to feel sorry for him. One thing was for sure, whoever this girl was had his total attention! His gaze never moved from the door. On the next lap, I noticed he wasn’t standing in the exercise area. Had he given up? No, she showed up! I looked ahead of me and there they were walking on the track. For the next several laps, I subtly observed them as I ran past them. He was looking carefully into her eyes when she spoke. He had a smile on his face that no one could have wiped off. I could tell he was giving perfect attention to the situation to let this young lady know of his interest in her! From an outsider’s casual observation- this boy was in loooove! I smiled to myself happy for this guy.
It was then that I had one of those moments, while still running on the track, that you feel the Lord slap you upside the head. As if God was saying to me, “Hey, did you see that guy? Learn a lesson!” I realized that day that I need to be like the guy waiting on the girl. God taught me about the importance of devotion. Pastoring a thriving church, teaching classes, speaking at events, and training for a marathon have my schedule entirely too busy. Unfortunately, there are days when God and my wife and kids only get the leftovers of me. My focus and attention is scattered in a million places. But I was reminded that day while running that I must be devoted to what matters most. For the young man, that girl was of utmost importance. She had his undivided attention. Nothing was going to distract him from focusing on her.
And so it should be for me and us on the relationships that are most important in our lives. God first and foremost deserves my full and complete attention. He deserves my full devotion and the best part of me. After Him, comes my wife. As I went round and round on that track I reflected on the need I have to give my wife my full devotion. Like the young man, do I focus on her every word and am I careful with every word I say to her? Does she have my undivided attention? We always make time for the things we consider most important. And the most important things get our full attention and devotion. In our lives, we need to always monitor what is getting the best of who we are. Is it stuff that in the end really doesn’t matter? Or is it the most important relationships in our life?