Had Thomas Brinley renewed a patent he might have become very rich and very famous. It was 1961 and he had invented the world’s first digital timepiece. He took out a patent on his invention to stop anyone from copying it, but sadly didn’t have the facilities to fulfil an order to produce 20 of the clocks in time for Christmas. After three years, and having not made much more progress, he decided not to renew the patent. Just a year later the Japanese produced an almost identical clock and were soon churning them out in huge quantities. If only Brinley had renewed his patent, he could have become a multi-millionaire.
His story reminds me of the many people I’ve met over the years who in childhood were taught about the Good News of Jesus, but who reached a point in their lives where they decided not to keep going. Like Brinley they weren’t able to see any future in what they had discovered. But failure to follow through on what was started results in unforeseen consequences; and whereas Brinley’s decision not to renew a patent led to the loss of material wealth, the decision to turn away from Jesus leads to the loss of life in all its fulness.