Do You Know the Number One Rule?

I’d forgotten the number one rule.

On a Saturday morning, I’d gone to a driving range to hit a bucket of balls. After choosing my bucket size (the middle choice), I went out, set up, and started swinging my big driver.

And golf ball after golf ball skittered across the ground.

Not good.

Not good at all.

A piddling one dribbled about ten feet. Another one skipped across the rough ground to my right. A third scampered off to the left.

No impressive distance.

No consistent direction.

Until I remembered the number one rule in golf. Keep your eye on the ball.

Slap on head.

My drives remained far from amazing but they improved drastically the moment I kept my head down and my eye on the ball.

So what’s the number one rule in life?

What helps us maintain distance and direction as we move through our daily routines?

And what are the life challenges that distract us from that number one rule?

A book’s release.

A brother’s cancer.

A friend’s marital woes.




Change of jobs.

Change of addresses.

The list of distractions grows if we let them.

But again what is the keep-your-eye-on-the-ball rule of life?

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 states: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (NIV)

The author of Hebrews writes: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2a NIV).

In a recent conversation, my friend Walt asked me, “What church do you belong to?”

We then discussed our two church homes, which were Lutheran (him) and Nazarene (me).

I then said, “Walt, when I talk to other people about faith, I ask one simple question. Do you love Jesus?”

His noticeably blue eyes twinkled and a smile crept across his face. “I sure do.”

The number one rule in life is to keep your eyes on Jesus. When I remember that and practice it, I recognize a drastic difference in the distance and direction of my life.

I’m curious. What of life’s challenges distracts you from fixing your eyes on Jesus? What brings you back to the number one rule of life?

Recommended reading:

Michael Hyatt’s “Your Life Is the Sum of Your  Choices”

Slice of Infinity’s “What is Faith?”

You can find my novel, Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes, at:

WestBow Press

Barnes & Noble

"Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes" goes to San Antonio and meets Jessica, hostess at Rita's On The River

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About tnealtarver

I've traveled and spoken around the world but always love to come home. There I eat exceptional meals, drink coffee to my heart's content, and get loved like nowhere else on earth. I believe a community centered in Christ should be all that and so much more.
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17 Responses to Do You Know the Number One Rule?

  1. Chris Patton says:

    Great post, Tom! It is a lesson we all need to hear…regularly!

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Kari Scare says:

    Focus definitely determines reality. I just get overwhelmed by how much I need to do sometimes rather than any specific thing. Though, my youngest son does his best to steal my focus at times too. The Holy Spirit usually brings me back around during daily prayer and study and sometimes through others too. He also often whispers to me through the noise and says, “become overwhelmed with me instead.” When I hear His prompting, I usually find my focus. Wish I heard it sooner many times though.

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  4. Mary Jeffries says:

    I love Kari’s comment also! And yes, though I have not played in a long time that is the key to golf and the key to Life….I really like this post! thanks for the great reminder. Wherever today takes us, God is already there, we just need to follow. May wherever it takes you bless you and those around you. Remember when we take our eyes off Him, He is still watching over us.

    • Kari Scare says:

      Ever heard of the movie “7 Days in Eutopia”? It’s based on a book by the same name and teaches valuable life lessons using the game of golf as a backdrop. Great Bible-based lessons too. I haven’t read the book yet, but my husband and I really enjoyed the movie. It’s premise fits well with this post and its discussion.

      • tnealtarver says:

        That’s a new one for me. I’ll have to check it out.

      • Kari Scare says:

        We stumbled across the movie in Netflix.

      • tnealtarver says:

        Ellen ordered it through the inter-library loan system. I plan on watching it sometime this week. I’m curious (that line sounds familiar). What does the name “Utopia” refer to? Ages ago, we lived near Utopia, Texas.

      • Kari Scare says:

        You’re gonna love this… the movie is set in Utopia, Texas. Let me know what you think! I wrote a post inspired by the movie. The post is titled “How to… Find Your Game.” You may want to read it after you watch the movie though. If you’re like me, you want to watch it with no ideas ahead of time.

      • tnealtarver says:

        Thanks for the recommendation on the movie. I will have to check out your post post movie viewing. I first served as a pastor about 90 minutes south of Utopia. When I looked up the video, the cover pictures made me think there might be a connection (i.e. Robert Duvall wore a cowboy hat).

      • Kari Scare says:

        Let me know what you think if you can. Enjoy!

      • tnealtarver says:

        Will do. Should be watching it over the weekend.

    • tnealtarver says:

      Good words, Mary. Thanks.

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