I just got back from my family reunion in Charleston, SC. This was the reunion of my paternal grandfather's family - most of whom I met for the first time in my memory. My mother tells me that I attended a family reunion for this branch of the family in the 1970's, but I was less than 10 years old then, so I don't remember. What a wonderful experience to connect with a new group of people.
One of the events on Saturday was a game night. Kudos to my new found cousin, Sonya, whose task it was to find entertainment for "children of all ages" - from as young as 4 or 5 to as "young" as 80+. She did an excellent job - with group participation games, Wii, spades, Phase 10, and musical chairs, which is the subject of this blog. When Sonya announced musical chairs, I am sure she intended it to be for just the little kids - but uh...several of my generation of family members (including me) joined in the fun. And we had no mercy on the youngsters. In fact, one cousin (who shall remain nameless) bumped his own child off a chair in order that he (the grown up) would not be eliminated from the game! It was brutal. I was knocked out about 4 people before the champion, so I had a pretty good show.
But I want to talk about my little cousin Elijah. Elijah is 3 or 4 years old (I never got his age), but he was ALL INTO the game! He was running around, grabbing chairs as the music stopped and beating some adults in the game. He was right in front of me and I must admit, I was watching him and trying to help a brotha out. But as the chairs dwindled down and the competition got fierce, more of the space on the floor was exposed and there was a bright yellow sticker with a happy face on it stuck to the carpet. For some reason, this sticker caught Elijah's eye as he rounded the corner and he stopped - went back and tried to get the sticker. His father was yelling at him from the sidelines "Elijah, forget about the sticker - stay in the game!" But Elijah had focused on the sticker and the game was no longer of any importance to him. When the music stopped, although an empty chair was his for the taking, by focusing on the sticker, he was eliminated from the game. Sticker in hand, he looked up only to realize his chance at winning had disappeared with the fading sounds of Michael Jackson's "ABC".
I thought about this a couple of times after the festivities of Saturday night were over and wondered, how many times have we missed out on the prize because we have focused on something trivial? How many blessings has God prepared for us - right there within our reach - that we have missed out on because we have been distracted by that man or woman we thought was "the one" - or a job that we thought would be fulfilling - or...well, you fill in the blank - you know what has distracted you from your goals in the past - and maybe even right now as you read this, you are distracted by a trivial bright yellow sticker on the carpet.
I encourage you to "keep your eyes on the prize." Our Heavenly Father is standing on the sidelines shouting, "Forget about that...stay in the game! Keep your focus on Me!" We need to take heed. Time is swiftly coming to an end. And in the words of my friends, gospel group Take 6, we only have a "few more miles to go." Don't lose out on the ultimate prize - salvation in Christ Jesus - because you have been distracted by something worthless and trivial. Pray for me as I pray for you that we will all keep focused and stay in the game until Jesus returns to take us home with Him.