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Running Down the Clock

I’m not a big sports guy, but I loved playing basketball in high school on our varsity team. Being tall, having a few skills, (and going to a small private school) helped me get to play quite a bit.

I’m a fairly laidback person, but once the adrenaline of a game got going, I just wanted to push until we couldn’t push anymore. What I hated more than anything was running down the clock.

Obviously with no shot clocks, it can be a common thing in high school basketball as the team with the ball holds onto it either to keep the lead or because they are so far ahead that it doesn’t matter. Our team did it too occasionally, but it killed me. And any time the other team did it to us, I wanted to tackle them.

Like it or not, there are multitudes of Christians holding the ball and running down the clock.

They may think it’s a close game, but they haven’t looked at the scoreboard. It was over before it started. Christ’s blood won every victory and we are appropriating that truth in the earth. Fear has gripped them that they will lose so they refuse to play. Some don’t even realize they’re on offense.

Every act of love and kindness means we advance on our opponent. Every moment of worship when we are being taunted and harassed moves us closer to our goal. In our prayer, our forgiveness, our obedience, our trusting, our submission–we are understanding our position on offense. We pass to our teammates, we play hard, we win together.

Too many get their “get out of hell free” card and figure that’s it. The clock keeps ticking down. They may be winning, but they’re contributing nothing of value and ignoring their team.

Whether you’re 10 years old or 110, there is a game to get involved in and lives are hanging in the balance.

I’ve been meditating lately on Joshua 10. The Israelites were fighting their enemies and winning a great victory. Instead of stopping there, Joshua asks God to make the sun stand still so he can keep going. He refused to run down the clock–he asked for more time and it resulted in an even greater victory. May we have the same boldness and faith!

You have something great to do with your life. You have something great to do today. There is a great cloud of witnesses cheering you on to move and do the impossible! Let go of fear, listen to the Holy Spirit, and put your heart and soul into what you’re doing.

May not be the easiest, but I guarantee, the outcome will be a lot more exciting.

Have you been guilty of running down the clock? Do you hate seeing it in a sporting event as much as I do?

This post is included as part of the One Word blog carnival hosted by Peter Pollock where this time the topic is Down. Head on over to read all the posts there.


  1. Wow!

    May I never be guilty of running down the clock… May I always be active in the victory as He would direct me to be.

    • Me too--no comfortable, apathetic living! Thanks Dusty.

  2. Like you I hated to see the clock run down. Bugged me to no end. When Dean Smith of NC used to do that with about a half to play, I was hoping they would lose big time. the shot clock is a good thing. Back to your question: I was recently accused of drifting toward retirement by a man who is ticked. That is not true, of course. None of the leaders believe it either. I want to die with my boots on. I don’t want to drift into retirement, just letting the clock run out. Good thoughts Jason.
    bill (cycleguy) recently posted..ReasonMy Profile

    • “I want to die with my boots on.” That’s an awesome way to say it, Bill. I can’t figure out how there could be retirement in the Kingdom. There’s so much to do and we need all hands on deck! Thanks so much.

  3. I loved this Jason.

    I don’t want to live just “waiting” for what I know Jesus promises me when I could be helping others see the promise too!
    HisFireFly recently posted..ComeMy Profile

    • So good, Karin. Much of what we call ‘waiting’ is only a mask for our fear and lack of trust. He wants to do mighty things through us and bring others into that beauty as well! Thanks.

  4. Here in Brazil our national sport is soccer, and when it comes to running down the clock, it is worse than any other sport.
    Sometimes, the players even fake injuries so the clock runs while they get the medical attention they pretend to need.
    That could apply to Christian life as well. Christian may use their limitations or exaggerate their extent in order to excuse themselves from the work God meant for them to do.
    May we all be more like volleyball players (our second national preference): there is no running down the clock. The game only finishes when a team accomplishes their goal (scores a specific number of points). And when one set ends, another one begins, and we have to score the points again, no matter how much time it takes.
    So let’s forget about the clock and pursue our goal that is determined by God.
    Great post, Jason!
    Cris Ferreira recently posted..God came downMy Profile

    • Wow, yeah--that takes running down the clock to a whole new level! Great analogy here, Cris, and amen!

  5. What a wonderful analogy, Jason! I will pass it along. I know so many (and often myself) who are guilty of running down the clock, just waiting it out here until they can get to heaven there. Such a waste of precious relationships NOW. Thanks for this insight.
    Lisa notes recently posted..A give-away “The Faith of Leap” (and a review)My Profile

    • We’re all guilty from time to time, but His grace is sufficient! Thanks so much, Lisa.

  6. I will admit I was guilty of running down the clock, but this post is actually letting me know I am on the right path. Last week God lit a fire under me to get some things done that I have put on the back burner for too long. Things directly relating to His purpose for my life. I realized I need to stop being passive and just letting life happen to me. He showed me that He gave me power to move mountains so it’s time to start pushing. Amen.
    Shywanda Patrice recently posted..God forgave you, now forgive yourselfMy Profile

    • And you are not alone in this, Shywanda! He is with you and your church family is with you. Go for it--be blessed in all wisdom and grace to accomplish His heart and will for your life!

      Thank you.

  7. I really believe that wasting time is the biggest unseen, unfelt sin we commit….

    it’s a shame…and sad…

    I can only pray that God have mercy and Grace on me to keep moving and moving and not get comfortable…
    arny recently posted..Are You Smarter Than A Wise Guy?My Profile

    • That is one of those dangerous prayers, Arny: Lord, keep me from getting comfortable. It’s worth it though. The difficulties and sweat are leading us somewhere and we honor Him! Thanks for your thoughts.

  8. Great analogy, sir.

    I’m guilty of running down the clock and I know I need to stop but in so many ways it’s just… easier.

    As to the other thing… I HATE teams running down the clock. One of the very worst things in football is when teams just ‘take a knee’ to run down the clock at the end.

    In my opinion, they should be penalized for time wasting. I know the rules say they can do it, but the rules need to change.

    You should have to play to win the game.

    In England, if a soccer team just passes the ball around to waste time, the fans from both teams will boo them!

    I guess though that it depends on what you see the goal as. Is the goal scoring as many points as you can or is the goal winning? Your post captured that well!
    Peter P recently posted..Down – Blog CarnivalMy Profile

    • Yep, I know what you mean! It’s easier now, but I don’t want a bunch of wood, hay, and stubble when I stand before Him one day.

      And I like that both sides boo the time wasters. It’s one thing to take your time, but intentionally stalling is maddening! Thanks Peter.

  9. Some of us are on “Time out.” What now in life as the clock ticks on? Joshua did ask God to stop the clock so he could win the battle. He also stated in chapter one to choose life and live it. The other choice is the one that stops the clock for sure. I am so thankful for blogging for it does give us all a wider space to run our influence and encouragement and interference! Let the clock keep ticking!
    Hazel Moon recently posted..Down to the Valley for ChristmasMy Profile

    • Now, there are definitely nothing wrong with time outs! We need rest and moments of reflection that allow us to maintain strength and persevere until the end. Good insight, Hazel. Thank you so much!

  10. “Some don’t even realize they’re on offense.”
    Too true and too sad.

    I pray that this Christmas season we may truly share the greatest story and the greatest gift during these opportune days. Seize the moment.
    Don’t box out those who have not heard.

    • Amen to that, Michael. Thank you.

  11. You’re right. It IS a game… a life-long, everyday/minute/second game. If our attitude reduces for more than the occasional need for bench rest, standing back and letting someone else deal with the present issues…. we can’t do it all all the time, but we need to be alert as much as is possible. Even just quietly serving the Lord in our hearts, so others can be drawn to Him.
    Joanne Norton recently posted..QUEEN FOR A DAYMy Profile


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