One Life, One Chance

District Fellowship News

March, April 2006

Two people hunch over a bomb made from large amounts of plastic explosive and a very sophisticated timing device. Both are uncomfortable in the excessive padding that protects them from head to toe. Of course this scenario usually involves no time remaining on the timer, multiple triggers, multi-colored wires, and a certainty that someone will die if the explosive is not defused immediately. Undoubtedly, the hero shoves his partner away, tells him or her that they need to get out and he will stop the device from exploding. He then sheds all his protective gear (it’s too restricting), poises his wire cutters over the area where the wires run from the timer to the detonator, and after waiting until the clock counts down to 0:01 snips the red (or maybe black, or green, or green-black; you get the picture) wire and everyone is saved. He is a hero because he made the right choice when he had the chance.

For many of us when we read a headline like “one life, one chance”, that is exactly what we see. A defining moment when given our one chance to “make something of ourselves”, we choose the right door, or right color, or right words. We go through life looking beyond the present , searching for the defining moment when we will finally be somebody, when we will make a difference. If only I could be a hero, if only I could have invented post-it notes, if only I could have been born rich, if only I could have lived when Jesus did, if only…

That’s not what “one life, one chance” is all about. It’s not about that one single second of decision that may come someday when you need to make a choice. It is about every second that exists from now on in your life, no matter where you are on that continuum. This is about every moment of every day, the space between the moment you are reading these words and the end of your life here on earth. Our one chance is here in our one life.

ONE LIFE—We will not be coming back to give it a go again after we die. We won’t have a do-over in case we mess up. All we have is this one life, and what we do in this life affects eternity. First, it affects our eternity. Where we will be depends on what we did with our “chance of a lifetime”. It isn’t popular to talk about heaven and hell in today’s climate of tolerance and inclusiveness, but the Bible is clear that there is a choice to make in this life. Your eternity depends on you realizing that loving and following God is what you were designed for, and your choice in that matter will determine your place in eternity. Second, it affects other’s eternity. God has placed us here as his messengers, his servants, and our actions on his behalf will affect the destinies of so many others in God’s kingdom. We are given a lifetime of opportunities to advance the Kingdom of God. In this one life, we have opportunity every day to impact eternity.

ONE CHANCE—Putting our lives onto the graph of eternity, it may seem so short (like a vapor) in comparison to forever that we see it as one chance to affect eternity. And of course, that first choice has to be made. But, it isn’t like the bomb squad where one second defines everything. Once the bomb is defused, it’s over. Recently, I was reminded that tenses of verbs have a myriad of ways to describe an action, and one of those is describing an action that starts at a point and then continues on. That’s how I look at this idea of one chance. It’s more like a continuing parade of opportunities that starts at the moment you commit your life to advancing God’s Kingdom and goes until the day you breathe the last breath of this life and move into eternity. Your life as a whole is one chance to further the Kingdom, but every day you have new opportunities to live out that choice. God has given you the time, the chance to make a difference.

What will you do with the time you’ve been given?
What will you do with it starting now?