Links Daily Devotional

The Point in Time

“And while they were going to buy [their oil], the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.” (Matthew 25:10, ESV)

Here’s a bit of news: Billy Horschel will not be playing with the U.S. team at this week’s Ryder Cup matches.

No, this is not brand new news. Rather, it has been all the chatter for a good week or more now. Why not wait another couple of weeks until the FedExCup is decided before selecting the team? Wouldn’t this give us the hottest players going into the event?

Horschel, to his credit, deflected all this, something maybe a little more easily done when one possesses the knowledge that with his wife likely to deliver their first child during Ryder Cup week, maybe camping out with your golfing buddies an ocean away isn’t the most noble fatherly plan—no matter how much the public demands it. “I still don’t feel like I deserve to be on the team,” Horschel told reporters after his second consecutive win, this one to claim the FedExCup at the Tour Championship. “I haven’t played good enough this year.”

What Horschel understands is that the criteria for making the team were set long ago, and they were based on something more than a late good week of play or two. If we want to reward “hot,” that’s fine. But then don’t start adding up points in 2013—or maybe at all before the summer of the Ryder Cup year.

In the same way, the criteria for standing before God were set long ago. They include the standard and the cutoff date. The literal standard is perfection, something none of us can secure. For this reason, Jesus came and died in our place, bearing our sin as the unblemished Lamb of God. So have we already missed our chance at standing before God? Not if we are still breathing!

God has given us the avenue to salvation, which is through faith in Jesus. Attach ourselves to the Savior in belief that he is Lord and that he was raised from the dead, and we will be saved.

But here is the other component of the criteria: our chance to respond expires on the day of our death. This is the reason Jesus spoke of the prepared virgins who went through the door to salvation before it was shut (Matthew 25:1-13). This is the reason Paul expressed an urgency for evangelism (Romans 10:14-15). This is the reason the writer of Hebrews warned “it is appointed for a man to die once, and then the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). There is in Jesus’ Parable of the Workers an eleventh hour reprieve for those who arrive “late,” but then the sun sets and all opportunity is gone (Matthew 20:1-16)

There’s been plenty of sentiment out there for Billy Horschel to be playing this week, and surely he appreciates the resounding confidence. But he’s at home for reasons quite clear to him. Let the reasons for the urgent response to and sharing of the Gospel be equally clear to us, rising above sentimental theology. These are opportunities that we cannot let pass us by!

Jeff Hopper
September 22, 2014
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