I've thought a lot about goal lines this week. My Dawgs finally pulled out an SEC win last Saturday, crossing that goal line over and over again. And Bobby Cox reached that goal line of retirement after a stellar, history-making career in baseball.
And who can help but have an image etched in their minds of that capsule bringing up miner after miner in Chile today - goal line crossed, mission completed, brave men.
Even more outstanding is my experience of watching goal line after goal line come to fruition this past Sunday at 12Stone. The church had open baptism at the end of the service where anyone who desired to accept Christ could publicly profess Him on the spot and be baptized. The pastor prayed, and the people started filing into two lines on each side of the stage. Person after person, life after life, salvation sprung forth for hundreds that day. Their goal line to Jesus was reached.
I watched in awe, teary-eyed, as I was reminded of this saying I heard several years ago from Louie Giglio:
"Christianity is not about getting there first, it is about holding out hope for the person who gets there last."
That "there" is the Kingdom of God. As much as I'm ready to go to heaven whenever God calls me, and as much as I know that this world is not my home, God whispered to me through those baptisms that there are so many more lives to hold out hope for. There is still more room in the Kingdom...
Matthew 22: 1-3, 8-10: "Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 'The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come'...Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests."
The invitation to the banquet is still open. So we pray, we invest, we love, we build relationships, we keep trusting God for those in our circles of influence, those we are yet to meet, those we may never meet on this earth, that they would taste and see that the Lord is good and that they would accept Him as their Savior...
even if they come in last.
It is then that we can boldly proclaim the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."
Dearly loved, and holding out Hope,