Hello Church Family,

Arguably my favorite part of any football game is the end of the first half. I particularly enjoy when there is a change of possession with less than two minutes left on the game clock. At this point in the game, the head coach of the team on offense must decide whether to be conservative or aggressive. I realize there are a thousand factors that inform him in varying ways, so you coaching and football fanatics will have to forgive my oversimplification.

Regardless of the outcome, at the end of the first half neither team wins and neither team loses. Nevertheless, one team could certainly be in a better position to win. Naturally, the coach making the decision wants that team to be his. He isn’t forced to attempt to score if they are losing or attempt to run out the clock if they are winning. He has the ability to weigh all of the variables and make a decision for the good of his team—which might not be attempting to score.

But let’s be honest, taking a knee or running the ball with the intention of letting the clock wind down is about as fun to watch as the Big10 conference. It might be the best decision for the team, but it is unfortunate for the spectator. I have never heard or seen a crowd rise to its feet and scream with excitement because of this decision. Nobody came to watch a bunch of nothing.

So, the beauty of this moment is that these last few seconds reveal a lot about the head coach and his team. In his mind he thinks, “Is the risk worth the reward?” He’s not forced to do anything. But, if they have practiced the two-minute drill tirelessly, if they have a mature quarterback and a composed offensive line, if the muscle memory is there to match the urgency, then the coach may have confidence in his team to pass the test.

As a church, we aren’t here to sit back and aimlessly let time run out. If we are in Christ, our assurance of salvation should never push us toward comfort and ease—but the opposite. If you are convinced your hope is secure, then you are freed to take risks for the kingdom of God. The game is not lost after the first half, but the team can certainly suffer loss by the end of it. But, if all the promises of God are ours and are fixed in Christ, we may risk losing our money, our possessions, our time, our sleep, our popularity—but we will never lose what is eternal.

It is encouraging and challenging to see so many of you seeking God as you look to Him for the reward. It is certainly more enjoyable to watch courageous risk-tasking for the sake of Christ than unengaged apathy for the sake of comfort. I thank God for you and I am excited for all of us to get after Him together.

Hebrews 11:1, 6; 2 Corinthians 1:18-22; Matthew 25:14-30