I have a friend who always seems to know who the killer is about ten seconds into the movie. Man, do I hate that! I hate that on several levels.
I hate it because I’m jealous–jealous that I don’t have anywhere near the level of analysis or insight he does. I hate it because he’s so aware and I’m so naïve. I hate it because he always spoiled the ending for me. No matter how obvious it is to everyone else, I’m always surprised (unless he’s around).
Christians seem to be like that. Our attention seems to be drawn to the back of the book—the end of the movie—the sum total of all things. I get that, but there’s something to be said for the journey.
Is it good to know the end of the story?
One of the things that originally drew me to Christ was my newfound knowledge that he was returning. I was twenty, in college, and rebellious. Hearing that Jesus was coming back was a startling revelation for me. I couldn’t remember ever hearing that before.
So it was good for me to know the end of the story. Unfortunately, our tendency seems to major in the last chapter. We should know about end times, but dwelling on them gets in the way of everything else.
Because I was drawn in by eschatology (the study of end times), I spent my first year as a committed Christian looking to the skies (not literally, but I think you know what I mean). That was a year I could have been getting immersed in the rest of Scripture. As it was, I could list all the signs of the times. I didn’t do much for the Kingdom of God, however.
That was forty-six years ago. Fortunately, at some point I realized I had to be about my Father’s business. Time was a-wasting! I turned it around pretty quickly, but some people never do.
“We’re on a pilgrimage.”
I do believe we are in the end times. However, we have been in the end times for two thousand years. Since it’s not given to us to know these things, maybe we should be about the things we DO know.
We’re on a pilgrimage. We might know the ending and the outcome of our travels. But the journey is important. What we do between the beginning and the end has consequences. It’s reassuring to know who wins, but that doesn’t negate our responsibilities. While the ends are important, the means are important as well. Let’s not be so “heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good.” I don’t know who said that, but it comes in handy from time to time.
As I write this, I’m preparing to head out to the cinema on a date with my wife. I know she won’t spoil the ending for me (at least she hasn’t over the past twenty years). But even if she does take a guess, she won’t hound me with her theory of who-dunnit and how. Thanks be to God.