Defer to the Second Half

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3, ESV

Football games all start the same way. There is a coin-toss to determine who gets the first possession of the game. The visiting team calls “heads” or “tails”. If they guess correctly, they decide; if they guess incorrectly, the home team decides. They can either choose to receive the ball first in the game, or they can choose to defer to the second half, which means they will get it first in the second half of the game.

There’s a lot of strategy involved. The choice often sets the tone of the entire game.

I don’t want to reduce the importance of our faith journeys by comparing them to a mere game—a game it is not—but I think that there is something we can learn by doing so. It has often been said that a game cannot be won in the first half, but it can be lost.

When we became Christians, we were not simply given a clean slate, but we were also given a guaranteed victory. We are assured of an eternity with Jesus. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4, ESV). Heaven is such a wonderful place that Jesus has been preparing it for us for over 2000 years (John 14:2-3)!

I know that I can’t speak for everyone, but I often find myself so caught up in how pleasant I want this life to be for me, that I lose sight of how I should be living my life now in light of the eternal life I shall have in the “second half.” I want to have as many comforts as I can now. There is nothing inherently wrong with having nice things, or time and money for recreation. But when those things become our focus, we find ourselves in danger of losing the game in the first half!

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, ESV)?

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20a, ESV).

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3, ESV

The scriptures are pretty clear as to what our priorities should be—how we should live; how we should love. I’m not saying that we need to turn our backs on everything that could make our lives more comfortable, but I am suggesting we consider that we have a heavenly eternity in our not-too-distant future. So, perhaps we could defer to the second half, “for I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18, ESV).

As always, these are the musings of a mindful disciple. Blessings on your week!

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Image by KeithJJ on Pixabay.

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