The 4th Quarter

Some of the most exciting action and sensational scores happen during the 4th Quarter of a football game. Players’ emotions overflow. Spectators fuel the energy with cheers, chants, and edge-of-the-seat engagement with action on the field. This is no time to relax. It’s like that fat lady singing thing when all parties involved know every decision and every effort made from this point on counts toward the final score. If players are determined to finish with a crowd-pleasing win, every member of the team has to stay strong. The same is true for the 4th Quarter of life: those years when people realizes 75 percent of their days are showing up in the rearview mirror.

It’s a human tendency that we value success, our call to stay in the game of life until the clock runs down. But, unlike football, the game of life has eternal implications for us and our spectators. And unlike football, there will be no more games to play when life’s clock runs down, no opportunities to recoup the losses. Now, let’s put this into perspective. Take a wide receiver. He is responsible to perform a specific function as part of a team: catching a pass and running it to the goal for a touchdown. The thing is, if wide receivers don’t give their best effort, it is unlikely they will be able to score any points. Likewise, grandparents fill a valuable role with their family team.

There is another important difference between football players and grandparents. We’re not just fighting against another team. We’re fighting against the powers of darkness and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12) We are an integral part of a family with a God-given command to share our faith in Christ with the generations that follow. If this were to become the only significant achievement we reach in life, we will have scored a winning touchdown and a prize that surpasses any trophy made by human hands.

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

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