Where is our end zone?

I can pretty much guarantee that less people than usual will read this because of what is happening in about two hours.  Tonight is the biggest night in college football, and this year, it involves half of the state of Alabama.  People are getting so caught up that Auburn is playing for the national championship, just like last year, when Alabama fans went crazy over a game.  And it is just that.  A game.  I’m as guilty of it as anyone else, but we take football way too seriously in this state.  While being an Auburn fan is not a bad thing, and the same for Alabama, let’s not forget that God has called us to a greater purpose than the life of an armchair quarterback.

As we prepare to watch this “big game”, I wonder where our hearts truly lie.  What is our end zone?  What is our ultimate goal?  What do we live for?  Do we live for nights like tonight, where our favorite sports team have a chance to be the best?  Do we live for our jobs, for our family, for our friends?  Is our goal a great marriage, beautiful children, or to own multiple houses?

Many, if not all, of those things are not inherently evil.  But again, I feel like the church in America, and especially in the Bible belt, where it is so easy to get caught up in religion, and in making our faith about church attendance, has failed.  Christ calls us, in His gospel, to give up everything for Him, including family, including our jobs and our dreams.  Why?  According to Operation World, which researches and gives prayer needs for every country in the world, only 33% of the world calls themselves Christians.  That’s billions upon billions of people that, if they died tonight, they would spend eternity apart from God.  So while we go through our daily lives worrying about what’s going to happen with Alabama and Auburn football, or our jobs, or our family, there is a world that is dying without ever hearing the gospel.

So what do we do?  Two letters.  Go.  Jesus said “Go, and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20).  This whole, “I’m not called to missions,” stuff has to end.  If you don’t feel called to missions, and you don’t have a heart and passion to reach this world for Christ, something’s wrong.  We have been saved through His death and resurrection, and know the only way to have hope, to have everlasting life, is found in Christ, and yet we don’t share it with people.  Most of the time it’s not intentional. Do I go around, looking at people, and thinking “Oh I don’t want them in heaven…they smell funny?” No, not at all.  But when we see someone in need, when we know someone that is unchurched, and don’t share the gospel or invite them to church, that’s sin.

This hits home for me, as much as it will anybody else.  I used to be the shyest, quietest, and most reserved person in my school, in my community, and my family.  God has slowly taken me out of my shell and started to help me see the needs around me.  I’m praying now for patience and for obedience to do these things.  When I go to bed at night, I wonder “What did I do for the kingdom today?”  More often than should be, it turns into “What did I fail to do?  What opportunities were missed because I was too busy worrying about something or someone else?”

As a result of reading Operation World, my prayer life is being transformed.  I find myself looking not just at the needs on campus or in the community, but at the global needs.  Right now, I’m a college student.  I’m not going overseas tomorrow on a mission trip to a foreign country.  One day I will.  But it may not be this semester.  It may be.  That’s not my concern, it’s God’s. But while I am here, I can pray.  Pray with passion, with zeal, and know that God is moving on this earth.  I can support my church and be on mission on campus.  And I’m thinking about taking a day out of every other week to fast and to spend non-class time in prayer, both for my campus and for the world.  If you’re reading this, and want to consider doing this with me, contact me.  I’m excited to see what the Lord is going to do this semester.

So as we prepare to watch our games, and go to our jobs, and do whatever it is we do, I want to challenge those who do read this to consider what your end zone is.  When you’re at the end of your life, do you want people to say “He/She really loved football,” or “He/She was a great businessman or businesswoman?”  Or do we get caught up in thinking that our family is the answer? Consider this: “He was a great father.”  “Their marriage was a model marriage.”  Do I want those things said about me?  If I’m blessed to have a family, absolutely.  But if it comes before my mission and my ministry, no…I don’t.  No one should.  Give up the American dream, to take a page out of David Platt’s book.  When my life is over, all I want to hear is:

“Well done, good and faithful servant.”

That’s what our lives should be focused on.  Serving Christ.  Furthering God’s Kingdom.  It is the only thing that will last forever.  He is the only one worth living for.

God bless,

Neal

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