Updated: Jun 6
Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand--and melting like a snowflake. Sir Francis Bacon
making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:6
We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. John 9:4
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment. Hebrews 9:27
Recently someone questioned why I made repeated references to my Fourth Quarter and why I made repeated references to death. They did so in a non-flattering manner, but it still serves as the perfect conduit for this blog post.
I believe I have shared this story before, but I trust is worthy of a rehashing to give some context to my thinking. I attended a Men's Conference a few years back, and the speaker talked about how life expectancy was nearly eighty years old. Using eighty as the marker, the speaker marked man’s lifespan using the four quarters of a football game. Employing his worldview, I am fast approaching my Fourth Quarter as I craft this blog on the fifty-ninth anniversary of my entry into time and space.
As an Evangelical, I more keenly understand the fragile nature of life more and more each day. For many of us, our departure will be swift, unplanned, and unannounced. If you believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture as I do, there will be an entire generation of college graduates who never realize their vocational dreams. There will be married couples who never witness the arrival of their first newborn and even some who will never consummate their marriage. There will be countless business entrepreneurs who will never witness the fruits of their labor materialize. Tragically, some will never experience the long-desired love of a significant other—untold numbers of teenagers will never reach voting age or experience the highs and lows of adulthood.
Yet, realizing there is a real possibility many will never realize their deepest hopes, dreams, and desires, the Holy Writs still commands the reader to prepare for the future as wise stewards and make diligent preparations. Thus, I endeavor to add my name to the hallowed list of Saints through the ages who consciously and actively seek to finish well, to die well. There is no commendation for living well. All one must do is remember the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus [note I do not classify the event as a parable as I believe it took place in time and space].
Luke, the Physician, and Historian, records in his Gospel [16:19-26] how lavishly the Rich Man fared compared to Lazarus's meager and most pitiful human existence. The former lived well, while the latter died well. Now, I hasten to caution the reader the Bible is not advancing the argument living lavishly or being rich is an inherent recipe for an automatic destination to Hell. Instead, the Bible places great weight upon dying in faith, in a word, dying well.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up 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 loved his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8
I trust each Evangelical reader of this blog post shares my profound love for God’s Word. The Apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, anticipates his soon departure as he pens his last Epistle. I draw the reader’s attention more to what Paul did not say than what he did say, and make no mistake, what he did say forever lives in the annals of Evangelical hope and a deep longing to emulate. Paul could not postulate that he took first place in the race; he was simply delighted that he merely finished. He does not paint the picture he was victorious in the prize fight. All he could muster is he fought well.
I do not know about you, but that God-inspired revelation lifts a tremendous weight of self-loathing off of me. It grants me Divine Permission to objectively refuse to allow the Adversary to use a sledgehammer against my assurance that I am indeed safely and eternally in Christ, wrapped, sealed, and delivered [Ephesians 4:30].
I trust that each Evangelical reader of this post is at the place in their Evangelical journey where they understand the assignment. The race you are currently running has only one participant, and the only opponent in the ring with you is YOU ! I do not mean this in any negative sense of the word. I only highlight that your Brothers and Sisters in Christ are not your competitors. No, they are fellow comrades.
Properly understood, fellow Evangelicals understand they are your cheering squad, gleefully cheering you onto the finish line. Realizing every Evangelical is part of one body with Christ as their head. Growing in Christlikeness, more and more embracing passages like 1 Corinthians 12:14-21:
For the body does not consist of one member but of many.
If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body.
And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body.
If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?
But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
If all were a single member, where would the body be?
As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."
I trust this foray begins to give you a small but sufficient glimpse into my musings, and maybe it motivates you to take stock of your own journey because no matter where you find yourself in the Fourth Quarter timeline, each and every one of us is moving towards the ultimate goal line. Some, like me, are near the goal line, others are in the red zone, others are at midfield with excellent field position, and others are starting at the opponent’s twenty yards with a fresh set of downs. Regrettably, many are pinned down in enemy territory near their own goal line, facing 4th and forever with no healthy punter. [Granted, I may have lost my female audience with my football imagery. If so, follow the Biblical admonition found in 1 Corinthians 14:35 and ask your husband. He will explain it to you].
I close by drawing your attention to the quote from Sir Francis Bacon. As a reminder, he wrote,
Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand--and melting like a snowflake.
I eagerly worked the past year so I could be financially in a position to do what I wanted to be doing. I want my life to be worthy of Christ’s commendation Well Done! I may not hear it, but I trust God’s meticulous judgment with no reservation whatsoever. I know His rendering will be Just, and it will be Righteous. One of my most favorite Bible verses is Genesis 18:25
Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”
Recently I shared on Facebook the following, and I will share it in its entirely
Hey, Facebook Family,
As I, with fear and trembling, enter my fourth quarter, I am committing myself to finish it strong. My fourth quarter may never materialize, it may be long or short, but I am never to be concerned with the output. Thus, I will concentrate on my input and trust Jesus Christ for the rest.
Lord willing, I will concentrate my fourth-quarter efforts on making much of the name of Jesus Christ by
2) Producing YouTube Videos
You can support me by doing the following:
1) committing to come alongside me by actively praying for me & subscribing to my blog and my YouTube channel
2) sharing my blogs & YouTube videos with your sphere of influence
3) Submit topics you want me to cover via blog and YouTube videos. I have included some topics I plan to pursue, but I would love to incorporate what interests you.
If you commit to supporting me, please indicate by responding to this thread!
Future YouTube topics
The Fallacy of Systemic Racism
Gender is not a social construct
Reparations vs. Restitution
What is the Gospel?
Role of the Government
If you are not traversing on the narrow road, with all of God's Sovereign Authority I implore you to be reconciled to Jesus Christ of Nazareth today. Jesus Christ is the only hope in this world and the world beyond. He came as the Second Adam and accomplished all the First Adam failed miserably to perform as humanity’s Federal Head.
I have ceased posting from https://wordpress.com/home/keepingyourhandtotheplow.blog.
My new blog post is https://www.thinkingcriticallyfromanevangelicalworldview.com/blog
As always, let me know what you think. Until then, keep your hands to the plow and seek to serve for an Audience of One.
With fear and trembling,
Ricky Kyles DEd.Min