Unless you just emerged from a long stay in a dark cave, you have played a board game or two in your lifetime. So you understand what the end game is all about. Identify the goal and play the game in order to accomplish the goal.
My favorite board game was always Monopoly and the goal, as you know, is to monopolize the entire board through the acquisition of properties. Given the value of the railroad properties along with Boardwalk and Park Place, acquiring those properties were always a priority. In fact, without cheating, I would even try my best to role the right number on the dice so that I could land on these properties and own them ASAP.
Board games are one thing. Our life is an entirely different matter and one that obviously matters a whole lot more…and for good reason.
Most of us have been taught from an early age to have several goals in our life and for the most part, these are wise goals. Goals such as education, careers, marriage, family, retirement, etc… Other goals, like becoming a millionaire by age forty or becoming a celebrity in some sub-culture of life, seem more frivolous but you get the idea of having a goal. Identify the goal and live in order to accomplish the goal. Pretty simple!
What is our GOAL in life?
The New Testament sometimes uses the word telos (end, goal) to describe the course of history in light of the crucifixion, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus Christ. History is now on course towards it’s telos in which the cosmos will be restored, resulting in the new heaven and new earth. This restored cosmos will be a life shaped by the gospel narrative of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. In other words, it will be a life of self-sacrificial service and complete love for God and neighbor.
As Christians, we participate in this telos. It is a goal we have already received (by grace) but not yet in its fullest expression. For example, after describing the “living hope” and “inheritance” that believers have received in Christ, 1 Peter 1:9 reads, “for you are receiving the end result [telos] of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (italics mine).
This is all to say that as Christians, we have a very different end game than our non-Christian friends, the nation we live in, the vocational profession we work in, and so on. Our telos in Christ changes everything about the way we live our lives. As J. R. Daniel Kirk writes in his book Jesus Have I Loved, but Paul?:
This perspective radically reorients other ways of seeing and interpreting our world as well. It is the reality that has the power to call us out of other ways of reading our lives and the space they unfold in, and to summon us to repentance for the misspent energies that we too often exert in service of other overarching narratives. When we see that the Christian story is one that is lived as a continual narration of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we also perceive that it is incumbent on us to reinterpret all of life through this lens (p. 196).
This is the game changer…theologically, politically, socially, morally, etc…