In dealing with people and situations we so very easily get stuck on the details, the minutia and the arguments. However, what we should always focus on is the end-point of the matter. Relentlessly throughout the Old Testament the Lord, in His dealings with the nation of Israel, is fixing them upon the end-point of their actions. As an example we read the following in Deuteronomy 4. Let us consider the negative end-point first of all in Deuteronomy 4:25-28
After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time – if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God and arousing his anger, I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed. The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the Lord will drive you. There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell.
In seeking to give instruction to the nation He is going to the end point. The end-point of them failing to trust Him will be a scattering and it will not be pleasant.
On the other hand we read of the end-point of their faithfulness. Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time. (Deut. 4:39-40). The end-point of keeping with the Lord is a long good life in His beautiful place.
Similarly, such famous scriptures of the New Testament such as John 3:16 and Romans 6:23 focus on the end point.
- For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Here the end is eternal life or perishing.
- The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 ). Here the end is death or life.
It is good to be thoughtful of these things as we study the Bible.
But we also must be so thoughtful of these things as we study and apply proper perspectives into our own lives. So I must analyse the things that come into my life in terms of consequences. Whats is the end pint of this? That should be a question regularly in my thinking.
This also most definitely applies as we seek to help others in their spiritual walk. In dealing with other people I must be speaking to them about the end-point of matters. I think this is so vital in our evangelism and witness. We waste so much effort in verbal and mental engagements with people when we should rather be focusing on the end-point. So very often it is simply good to focus someone’s mind, by saying “what is going to happen when you die?” This is the end-point; this focuses things.
So let us be thoughtful of the end-point in all of our dealings.