“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” ~ Matthew 24:36-44
As a once-upon-a-time high school swimmer, I love to watch all the Olympic-related swimming events when they come around every four years. This week brings us the Olympic swim trials in Omaha, giving all of us with access to NBC the chance to watch the fastest swimmers in America compete to swim in London next month.
There is much brouhaha surrounding these events, especially whenever the name Michael Phelps is mentioned. He lost (code for: he came in second)! He’s trying to win ten medals! Can he beat Ryan Lochte! For one of the most decorated athletes on the planet, people sure do get worked up whether or not he’s good enough to repeat his record-smashing haul of gold medals in Beijing.
However, it’s been interesting to watch Phelps swim. Tonight, for example, he came in third in the 200m butterfly. It was the semi-final event, so all he had to do was place in the top four in order to have a shot at swimming in the finals. So that’s what he did. Some people might panic at a third-place finish, but I have the feeling that for the guy who holds the world record, he isn’t too worked up about it. He knows he’ll get another chance, during the final round.
However, we as believers don’t have this same luxury that Phelps does in his racing. He knows the racing schedule; he knows when he really has to be at his best. But like the owner of the house in the verse, we can’t prepare for when someone will break in to rob us. Christ’s return will be just as surprising. We can’t assume that we have time to give living for Christ a half-hearted attempt today, with the guarantee of going all-out tomorrow. We need to give it our all, each and every day, because we don’t know when our time on earth is up.
Give it all you’ve got. If you’re out of breath, keep going. Our life on earth is a sprint compared to eternity. Being winded at the finish line is a good thing, because you have all the time you could ever need to recover.