Christian Living

Spiritual Life

What's Your Tennis Ball?

Don’t push. Get pulled.

Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox, said this:

“The happiest and most successful people I know don’t just love what they do, they’re obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them. They remind me of a dog chasing a tennis ball: Their eyes go a little crazy, the leash snaps, and they go bounding off, plowing through whatever gets in the way. . . . It’s not about pushing yourself. It’s about finding your tennis ball, the thing that pulls you.”

We can live out our faith under obligation to all the things we ought to do. Or we can live out our faith in holy pursuit of the person God has created us to be.

Pushing versus pursuing. 

The same goes for school: Who are the best students?

And jobs: Who are the best workers?

And family, and friends: Which people are the greatest blessings?

Anything: Pushing versus pursuing is universal.

In any area of life, your tennis ball might be a promise that attracts you, a moral wrong that makes you indignant enough to take action, or what you perceive as your destiny.

Pushing versus pursuing is much like the difference between bondage and freedom, drudgery and joy.

The difference is also like a dog passionately pursuing a tennis ball versus the fate of Sisyphus. In the ancient Greek myth, Sisyphus, king of Corinth, was punished in the afterlife for his pride and deceitfulness. He was condemned to push a huge boulder up a mountain, only to have it roll down the other side. And he had to repeat this futility for all eternity.

Wouldn’t you rather chase a ball than roll a boulder?

What is your tennis ball?

If you can’t think of one, what might it be? What in the world, or in your life, needs you to go after it? What pulls you?

If you’re up for it, I encourage you to consider two tennis balls:

  • One in your vocation—to pursue your highest calling of what God has called you to do on this earth.
  • One in your spiritual life—to pursue your highest calling of who God has made you to be.

Drew Houston could also have quoted the Apostle Paul. Since he didn’t, I will. Paul, who was at the top of his game as a young man, threw away his success, prestige, and power for the greater pursuit of knowing Jesus. He writes in Philippians 3:8 (NIV),

“I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”

Indeed Paul accomplished just that. He gained Christ. And as he writes this letter to the Philippian Church, he is late in his life. By this time he has started churches and Christian movements all over the Roman Empire. He has become arguably the greatest human tool God would ever use.

But still he says,

“I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12–14 NIV)

That was Paul’s tennis ball.

What is yours?

Copyright © Peter Lundell. Used by permission.

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