Last year it looked like Jerome Bettis was going to finish his career with a season-ending fumble. He was at the Indianapolis one-yard-line and took a hit that jarred the ball loose. Were it not for his quarterback tackling the player who picked up the ball, his defensive players stopping Peyton Manning, and the opponent’s kicker missing a field goal, Jerome’s career may have ended poorly. But Jerome’s season was extended for another game and his career did not end with a fumble in Indy. If it had, the question that would have haunted Jerome would have been something like this: What good is a Hall of Fame career if you end it on a fumble, costing you and your team a shot at the Super Bowl?
Many sports figures have careers that end poorly. But worse, many people have lives that end poorly. What makes a life end poorly? Jesus answers this question with a question: What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? (Matthew 16:26a)
Because we’re so busy, most people concern themselves with present-day demands without giving a thought to eternal matters. We busy ourselves with our jobs, our homes, our families, our friends, our vacations, and preparing for retirement. But most people don’t give much thought to how their life will end. Jesus’ question is, “What good is that — to live an all-pro life that everyone envies and then to end without having prepared for heaven?”
The irony of this is that the way to prepare for eternity is spelled out quite clearly in the Bible.
The Bible says that each of us need to make preparations. Romans 3:23 says that all of us have sinned. If that’s not bad enough, Romans 6:23 says that the wages of or penalty for sin is death. What a terrible way to end your life — marked by sin, headed for eternal death. But the Bible goes on to say that Christ died for sin, once for all, the righteous dying for the unrighteous, to bring you to God (1 Peter 3:18).
The question becomes, What do I do to make Christ’s payment for my sin effective in my life? The answer is you receive him. John 1:12 says that whoever received Jesus received the power to become a child of God. When you ask God to forgive your sins because of Jesus’ death and open your heart to Jesus, he forgives you and enters your life. He makes you a new person and gives you a second chance.
His presence gives you the power to finish well.
While it’s very important to someone like Jerome to finish his career well, it’s so much more essential for you and me to finish our lives well. If you want to be sure you will end well, then talk to God. Tell him you believe that Jesus’ death paid for your sin. Ask him to forgive you and enter your life. Then walk with him each day.
A MSWord copy of this is here: SuperBowl Devotional. If you find it of value, let me know.