Updated: Aug 14, 2018
BY JOHN MACON GILLESPIE
The clock hits zero.
Suddenly, you realize that what you have worked towards for four years has abruptly come to an end. You’ll never play the game of football again.
The same can be said for any sport, but as a sportswriter that covers football, that’s the experience I see the most. Players cry and hug their teammates and families and turn in their helmet and pads one final time. Eventually, regardless of how far one makes it in a career, every athlete’s time on the field or court comes to a close. The relentless hours of work and sweat are stopped by the sturdy hand of time.
You may not have played a sport in high school or college, and you almost certainly didn’t go pro if you did, but we all know the feeling: the ending of an era.
This feeling of loss and disappointment is replaced with a question: what did I leave behind? What did I teach the athletes and students that will play in my wake and carry on the traditions of our team?
Are they prepared for the tasks they’ll face?
Did I leave a lasting, positive impact on any lives?
This sports experience, moving on from the game you love, is just a small taste of what we will all experience at the end of this life.
Eventually, the clock hits zero.
We all know that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. We all will face the chilling hand of death, unless it is preceded by the return of Christ. Scripture tells us, “…For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14, NKJV). James knew that our time on this earth is limited, but he also knew that we are placed here for a purpose.
What is that purpose? What are we supposed to accomplish with this “vapor” of a life? If our life is so short and vanishes so quickly, how can it have any lasting impact?
The Apostle Paul tells us in Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (NKJV).
That is our purpose.
What we “leave behind” in this life is nothing of material or earthly value. What we leave behind after our time on earth is over is of eternal value.
How many people have we shared the gospel with? How many people have we seen turned to Christ because of our actions and testimony? How many people have been touched by Christ through us?
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he gave his followers the Great Commission. As stated in Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
For us living in modern-day Mississippi, the charge remains the same. We are to start at home and spread Christ’s message across our town, county, state, nation and world.
Everyone’s athletic career eventually comes to a close just like everyone’s time on earth. The clock is ticking.
What will you leave behind?
MEET JOHN MACON
John Macon is a Print Journalism major at the University of Mississippi. He serves as a sports writer for SES Mississippi and The Daily Mississippian. He also serves as the public address announcer for Vardaman Highschool football.