A player’s eyes are a dead giveaway. They are the proverbial window to his mind and soul, to his emotions and character. It’s no wonder that, during mound visits or postgame speeches, coaches often repeat the same words: “Look me in the eyes.”
If you have their eyes, you have their attention. If you have their eyes, you have a read on what they’re thinking. If you have their eyes, they must be accountable in that moment. If you have their eyes, you have a chance to speak to them with impact. If you have their eyes, you know they’re paying attention.
Proverbs 4:20–“My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.”
Just like the coach visiting the mound during a tough inning, a wise father here speaks to the young and potentially immature person, asking for attention. “Look me in the eyes,” he says. “Pay attention to what I’m telling you. I’m desperate to help you, but you have to want it.”
During mound visits and postgame speeches, players avoid eye contact for a variety of reasons. Some are ashamed of their performance and don’t want to acknowledge it. Others believe they have nothing to learn from the coach, so avoiding eye contact is their “statement” to him. Perhaps others are afraid of admitting they’ve messed up and that they need instruction. Some fear being called out individually. For whatever reason, looking the coach in the eye is a struggle for some players.
Before we simply nod and say “amen” about all those guys, let’s turn it on ourselves. When the Lord makes a mound visit, are we paying attention? When he addresses us, whether through his word personally or perhaps through the preacher on Sunday morning, are we leaning in or away from him? Are we giving our full attention to the wisdom he offers? Are we looking him in the eyes?
Or, do we look down, dart our eyes, hang our heads, and assume or hope he’s talking to someone else?
Growth in baseball depends on receiving knowledge, instruction, and wisdom from those who know more than we do. Growth in life is no different. None of us are omniscient, having all wisdom. And, none of us need be ashamed of that. When God speaks through his word or others, his goal is not to condemn and shame us, but to grow and nurture us. He’s the coach we all wish we had and could be like.
Today, look God in the eyes. Receive the love and grace offered by his Son as he looks back at you. Take to heart the wisdom and instruction he offers. Repent of the pride that keeps you from learning from him. And then get back in the game.
Lord Jesus, you have my attention. Teach me. Reveal me. Guide me. Thank you for the security of being instructed by you. I know you love me. Amen.