Time limits. Writers love them. An endpoint creates urgency, raises the stakes, and increases the tension.
Will James Bond diffuse the bomb in time?
Will the hero get to the airport before his romantic interest flies out of his life—forever?
Will the police find the kidnapped victims before they suffocate in the deranged killer’s sweltering prison?
Endpoints push us, giving us reason to buckle down and get the job done instead of binge watching The Crown on Netflix.
But what happens when we don’t know the endpoint?
Frankly, we often flounder.
When our oldest was going through SEAL training, the BUD/S instructors repeated certain exercises: sets of pushups, surf torture, or ocean swims. The trainees never knew when it would stop. If the instructors sensed a few guys were on the brink of quitting, they’d order another set. Sure enough, a couple would quit—and then, the instructors would move to the next task.
I think we see the same thing in the church and I’m guilty as charged.
When is the last time you shared your faith? Yep, it’s been a while for me too.
We know the endpoint is coming.
And we can’t wait for it to get here—for all the wrong reasons. We’re ready to bounce. To leave this crazy place. To get to heaven. To be with Jesus.
But what about everybody else?
Not knowing the endpoint can affect us in several ways:
We Turn In: Hunker down and ride it out. We surround ourselves with other believers and just try to get through life until Jesus comes.
We Turn Away: In turning in, we also turn away from the very ones who need us. Ephesians 6 reminds us that evil is behind much of what we see in the world, but the problem is not the people evil manipulates. The problem lies with the demonic forces that use them. While people make easy targets, they need a divine rescue and we’ve got the life raft.
We Turn It Off: This focus says just forget about it. We’ve been waiting on the endpoint for years. Nothing ever happens.
Scripture takes a different approach:
Today is The Day: “So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts’ . . . See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:7, 12-13) No more delay, now is the time.
Fight the Right Foe: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesian 6:12) Flesh and blood need the Gospel. The spiritual forces of evil need a taste of the Sword of the Spirit.
Be Prepared: “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.” (Matthew 25:19) We will be held accountable for how we steward the relationships around us.
So, when’s the last time you shared your faith?
If God gave you an endpoint, say, next Friday, what would change for you?
How often do you rub shoulders with those who don’t know Christ?
What can you do to change that?
Because the clock is ticking.
Workout of the Week: The Endpoint
Memory Verse: “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.” Matthew 25:19 NIV
Meditation Passage: “So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts’ . . . See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:7, 12-13
Just Do It: Ask God to make a divine appointment for you to share your faith.