Since our new year begins with the annual college bowl games and proceeds through the NFL Playoffs that culminate in the Super Bowl, January is often considered the greatest football month of the year. Millions pass January’s leisure hours watching helmets crash and bombs fly through the air to the outstretched hands of imperiled receivers while coaches, their jobs often in jeopardy after every loss, direct these hundred yard wars from the safety of the sidelines.
Each year, the most exciting time in many of these championship games occurs during the final two minutes. There’s even a provision in the rules to make this happen: it’s called “the two minute warning.”
The two minute warning does wonders. After this brief break in the action, each tick of the clock becomes more important.
Players plunge, pass and perform with new vigor and breathtaking efficiency, forgetting their earlier blunders and making the most of the moments that remain. These end-time revivals have rescued teams that seemed hopelessly behind and bound for defeat. Games are often won or lost depending on how well teams use the final two minutes.
Life’s like that.
Many who have thought themselves sure losers have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat during the two minute warning.
I’m not sure when I heard the two minute warning. Maybe it was when I began looking into the faces of grandchildren, when it seemed only a few years earlier I had been holding their parents. It may have sounded during some close call or when I noticed the graying of what’s left of my hair. Whatever the reason, at some point, I began seeing the remainder of my life as similar to the final two minutes of a football game. Let me tell you what life is like after you’re aware of the shortening of time.
After the two minute warning, there isn’t time to mourn over past mistakes or gloat over past accomplishments.
Past sins are forgiven when they are confessed to the Lord and there isn’t time to allow them to hinder future progress. Past accomplishments can be enjoyed only to the point that they build faith for greater conquests. They must never make us feel we’ve arrived or done enough to retire from serving God and helping people.
A woman once wrote to tell me she had retired as the church organist but after reading one of my books has asked her pastor if she could return to this long held position. She wanted to stay involved; she had learned now how to live profitably after the two minute warning.
During the last two minutes, we learn the value of the present. The Psalmist once wrote: “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). What good words for two-minute men and women.
Life after the two minute warning calls for the best possible use of every second that remains. Winners know they’ve no time left for being mad, moody or gloomy.