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The year of living dangerously

Many years ago, long before I’d heard of MAF, I worked for a Christian film distribution company. Apart from recommending films to customers, I had to check and repair the movies as well as package them up so they were ready for collection.

There was a large window directly above my desk and, every time I pushed it open to combat the room’s sauna-like heat, it closed again.

One day, I had a brainwave, rolled some cardboard into a tube and wedged the heavy window open. All was fine until its weight concertinaed the cardboard and it swung shut again.

However, because the films we supplied came on uncrushable metal spools, I decided to use one of our spools to keep the window open.

Later, when I went to get some sandwiches, I looked up to see the room where I worked and, having done so, noticed the large silver spool glinting in the sunlight.

Then a terrible thought came to me. The spool was metal, the window high up and — this being London — the people passing below were extremely numerous.

Were the spool to become displaced, I realised, it could plummet down, probably embedding itself in someone’s skull or taking one of their ears off!

Having no wish to be like Simon Peter who, in John 18:10, removed the ear of the high priest’s servant, I shot across the road, pressed the buzzer, leapt up the stairs, and rushed into my room. Finally, heart pounding furiously, I retrieved the heavy metal spool before any damage could be done.


It occurs to me that life is rather like that. Every day we go about our activities, little thinking that death or destruction could overwhelm us in an instant.

Did the people in Ukraine anticipate being invaded by Russia, or those living in Israel or Gaza expect violent conflict breaking out?

The Bible tells us that, ‘There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death’ (Proverbs 14:12).

Opening the window might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but fortunately I realised my mistake and rectified the situation. If it hadn’t been for that, the people down below might not have escaped the threat originally posed by the spool.

It doesn’t matter if people are oblivious to the potential dangers up ahead — without God, we’re all just one step from disaster.

Whether catastrophe occurs due to natural disaster, the malice of man or our own deliberate fault is irrelevant. Without Jesus, to quote the TV sitcom Dad’s Army, ‘We’re doomed!’

Here today and gone tomorrow

The Bible reminds us that we are but grass, flowers of the field, dust and ashes. Our life on earth is no more permanent than a mist, shadow or vapour. Like water spilt on the ground, a worn-out tent or a fleeting breath, we are here today and gone tomorrow.

So, whether our time here is long or short, let’s try to make it count — spending time with friends and family, sharing our faith, doing good to those we meet, helping those less fortunate than ourselves and supporting the causes closest to our heart.

We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it (1 Timothy 6:7), so perhaps we should ensure that whatever legacy we leave blesses the lives of those we leave behind.

Philippians 3:20 assures us that our citizenship is in heaven. Ultimately, we’re just pilgrims, passing through this transitory life until we reach our journey’s end.

It’s a voyage that means being transformed into Jesus’ likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18), being conformed to the image of God’s Son (Romans 8:29) and participating in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

No one likes the thought of the proverbial sword of Damocles hanging over their head but, for believers, reaching our eternal destination shouldn’t be something to fear. Instead, it’s something we should anticipate eagerly (Philippians 1:21).


Let’s give thanks for the ways in which He has protected us from our folly or sin, asking for wisdom whenever and wherever we need it.

This devotion is written by MAF UK’s Copywriter and Editor, Gary Clayton.