Knowing The Outcome
This past weekend marked the end of the 2022 Major League Baseball season. Our hometown Phillies lost the World Series to the Houston Astros in six games. Game Six’s final score was 4-1 with the Astros winning three straight games over the Phillies. After an amazing season and some iconic moments throughout their playoff run, the Phillies ended the 2022 season just two wins short of a World Series title.
Now, here’s my question to you: if you had not watched the World Series, but knew the outcome, would you still watch it? What if it were the Phillies that walked away with the victory?
Would you go back and live through the ebbs and flows of a game, a movie, or a tv show, knowing that it is a happy ending for the “good guys?” Would it feel better for you after every defeat, every scar, every bad moment, if you knew that there was a victory at the end of the story?
Well, then I have good news for you. THE Good News. We know how the story ends.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 NIV
When Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, gave His life on the cross, He did so as a loving sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the world. And so, if you have faith in Christ and His resurrection power over death, then you too will live in the resurrection and have eternal life.
If you look through the book of Revelation, you are given even more detail on the end of the story. The enemy is defeated, the Lord sits on the throne, and a new heaven and a new earth are created.
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.
Revelation 20:11 NIV
Then I saw "a new heaven and a new earth," for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea…
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
Revelation 21:1, 6-7 NIV
Now, let me change the question one more time: what if an athlete knew that their team would win a game before they even set foot on the field? Not that the game is fixed or the athlete is just that over-confident, but rather they knew with total clairvoyance that their team was going to win. How would that change how the athlete plays the game?
Some would play with complete over-confidence with a “we already won” attitude. They would not give their all, feeling that they don’t have to because the victory is secure. Even if the victory is won for the team, this player will be looked at with disdain for not playing their part and hurting the team’s efforts. Others, meanwhile, would play with additional vigor, confident in the vision of victory and fully eager to see how the final victory comes about.
That is what we are called to do as followers of Christ. We each have a part to play. If we choose to do whatever we want knowing that God has the victory secure, risk missing out on the specific role God has planned for us. The same goes if we opt to just be a spectator. If we keep our faith to ourselves, just going to church on Sunday and reading scripture, then we would still be missing out on a large portion of God’s will for us.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV
God has prepared each and every single one of us to do good works. Don’t just glance over that because it is a familiar verse. The King of the Universe, who saved each of us through grace alone (through faith in the sacrifice of Christ), has given each of us a role to play in the coming victory.
Teresa of Avila once said “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours.” We are the Lord’s hands and feet on earth to do good, show compassion, and to spread His love and the word of His salvation to the ends of the earth.
So if it feels like you are down to your last strike, don’t quit now. As long as we stay true to our faith and play the part God has prepared for us, victory will come.
Or maybe you have lived your life treating your faith as a spectator sport. Are you an active member of the church body? Do you serve? Do you give? Are you discipling others or praying for someone to come to know Christ? If not, it might be time for you to get in the game yourself. God has placed you here, at this moment, in your circumstances for a reason. There is no one else that can have the specific impact that you can on the lives of people around you. So swing for the fences, be bold, we know how the story ends.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with them, and they with me.
Revelation 3:20 NIV