Beginnings And Endings

Today marks the beginning of the Major League Baseball playoffs, with series opening between the Rangers and the Rays, the Yankees and the Twins, and the Phillies and the Reds taking center stage for start of the postseason drama. Tomorrow, the final series of the first round of playoffs (Braves versus Giants) will begin. The beginning of postseason action is the culmination and prize for performing well over the long season and is an exciting time for these teams and their fans—but for others, this week is not a beginning, it is an ending. Monday marked the beginning of a different kind of postseason—the postseason firings of managers and general managers of teams that under-produced and under-performed. For some, a season of beginnings. For others, a season of painful, disappointed, unwelcome endings.

It may sound cliché, but it is true—life is like that. Life is about beginnings and endings. And yet, the most problematic of endings can only be prepared for by the most profound of beginnings. The most troublesome of endings is death. Not just the death of a job or a career, it is the death of a person that must be reckoned with. And it is the one ending that is universally unavoidable. Paul brought the divine solution to these two ideas of endings and beginnings together in one statement, however, when he wrote to the believers at Rome:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

The reality of sin ensures the unavoidable nature of death—but there is hope. Christ has taken our death on the cross, and, by His resurrection, offered us life—not just now, but eternally. That is why the gospel is called “good news.” God’s offer of an eternally new and fresh beginning is the only possible solution to the inevitable ending of death that, otherwise, we could never avoid. Do you know Him?

Bill Crowder, Sport Spectrum Chaplain