"To the victor goes the spoils,” the well-known saying tells us. But the victory doesn’t always go to the most gifted or skilled person. Sometimes the ability to keep your focus makes the difference between success and failure.
That’s a lesson golfing legend Arnold Palmer learned the hard way in the 1961 Masters tournament. He led by a stroke going into the final hole. All he had to do was put the ball on the green, make par, and victory was his. But he lost his focus.
Walking up to the 18th green, he stopped to say hello to an old friend in the crowd. They shook hands and briefly celebrated Arnold’s certain victory. But as soon as Arnold returned his attention to the course, he realized his ball had landed in a sand trap. He wasn’t expecting such a challenging shot and misplayed it. By the time he sank his final putt, his lead had evaporated, and he lost the tournament. “It was a bad mistake,” he later said. “I had a one-shot lead, but I kind of forgot you have to finish.”
Whether it’s a golf tournament, your marriage, your parenting, or a desire to deepen your faith in God, you have to remember to finish. Nobody runs a race to get to the middle. It’s finishing strong that counts. To do that, you have to keep your focus on the goal that God has placed before you.
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:13-14 AMP