“…but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” Philippians 3:13b-15 (KJV)
From my condo in Illinois to my sister’s house in California is 2020 miles or 29 1/2 hours driving time. That’s not counting stops for gas, rest stops or turnoffs to motels. I have made the trip in three days – but that was when I had my mother along with me. We were in a rented SUV with a medium-sized gas tank. We had food and beverages with us and only stopped to sleep or gas up.
I remember feeling as though every other sentence from Mama was either “Are you doing alright?” or “You aren’t going to sleep, are you?” She was committed to making sure I didn’t succumb to road fatigue. At the end of the second day we were in Salt Lake City, where we met my sister and her husband. I turned in my rental and he drove the third day.
This time, there was no relief driver for me, no companion to keep me awake. So I broke the trip into five days. This also allowed for a greater number of stops for gas, since my little Saturn Ion has a smaller gas tank; more rest stops for my little dog Shady, who is diabetic; and more opportunities for me to stretch these middle-aged legs of mine since the Ion’s “cockpit” is smaller than the one in the rented SUV.
There were points along the way when it felt as though the next stop was simply too far away to keep going. I was tired and cold and wet. The temptation to stop early was strong. But I knew if I did, I would forfeit things: my sister’s confidence in me (already badly undermined by delays in beginning my trip); the rental on the next motel room, my planned schedule. So I kept going, reminding myself of the goal waiting for me at the end of my trip – reunion with my mother, sister and brother-in-law, a chance to see my niece and nephew and their families, a fresh start in a new place. And I kept driving.
Paul reminded the Philippians of the importance of keeping the goal in sight and not succumbing to distractions and temptations. The same is true for us today. We press toward the prize, even when the going is tough. We work to stay on track to our target.
The truth of Paul’s instruction emphasizes how important it is to know what our goal is. If we haven’t identified the destination, we will find it difficult to chart the course to it. Praise God, He gives us the opportunity to change our destination if we find ourselves headed in the wrong direction!
What is your destination? What steps are you taking to ‘press on’ to that destination? Take a moment today to pray about those steps and where they are taking you. Lift your eyes to the ultimate goal, a relationship with Jesus Christ.
© 2008 Mary Beth Magee