Well, we are back home from the Greenbrier. The saddest part of each trip is the long journey home after having had such a wonderful time. But we immediately start looking forward to the next time we get to travel out east. And we do have a pretty good life back here in Indiana.
As we were heading back home, Janet and I were reflecting on all the new things we did this trip – watching a tennis match in the new stadium, trying several new restaurants and then, the highlight of the trip, learning about and working with the falcons and hawks at the Greenbrier Falconry Academy. We both think this experience was phenomenal on several levels – not the least of which is the symbolism between our view of the world and how these predators see things from their perspective.
We were taught about the sharp eyesight these raptors have – the human equivalent of being able to read a newspaper at 100 years. And, as I wrote in my last post, their ability to focus on getting food as long as they can see it. We stood by while the birds flew right past us, within inches of our faces, brushing their wings against us, as they sought the prized food in the hand of the falconer.
What amazed us even more than their keen vision is the fact that they never take their eyes off the prize. They fly through small spaces and always take the most direct path to their destination – the reward of food. In the entire time we were with the birds, they never took a circuitous route to the goal – they went for it head on – never swerving to the left or the right – not even up or down, to achieve the reward. At times, it was a little scary – to see a hawk in full flight; wings spread to the max, flying straight at your head to get the morsel of food that the falconer is holding an inch over you. Then, realizing that their sense of position and spacial orientation is so good that you you feel their feathers brush your hair as they land softly on the falconer’s outstretched hand to consume the raw meat offered to them – missing you by less than half an inch!
We saw this time and time again – the incredible agility and determination of these creatures. On the way home, we couldn’t help but re-live the experience. And while I knew that they have incredible sight, on reflection, I am even more impressed how they never took their eyes off the master. That’s the lesson for this evening.
Just like the falcons, we should never take our eyes off our Master. We should pay constant attention to Him and make sure that nothing distracts us in our determination to stay focused on Jesus. No swerving to the left or to the right – just sheer commitment to never let Him out of our sight. And to take the analogy a little farther, we get fed when we stay close to God. It fact, it’s the only food that is eternal. Even Paul, the apostle, spoke about keeping focused on the prize, winning the race and receiving the reward. These are all things that as Christians we should be focused on.
Our verse for tonight comes from the Psalms. David, the author of Psalm 16, tells us in the 8th verse, “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” This is wonderful advice for us, especially coming from David, a man who was after God’s own heart. Notice that David doesn’t only keep his eyes on God part of the time – but “always.” That isn’t easy to do. It takes concentration, commitment, perseverance and steadfastness to accomplish the task.
But there’s no safer place in the world than to be focused on the Lord. My encouragement this evening is that God is all around us and no matter where you look, He is right next to you. My prayer is that you will have the desire to concentrate on keeping your eyes focused on Him. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…