Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died recently at the age of 82.
Not many know that Neil Armstrong and his fellow crew members did not expect to return alive from their mission. Such a large number of untested procedures had to go exactly right that the margin of error was exceedingly low. For example, if the rockets didn’t fire just right on their lunar module, the men would have been stranded on the moon forever.
Armstrong was asked why he went on the mission, given his assumption that he would die. He replied that he considered it an honor to sacrifice his life for his country.
Because Neil Armstrong was willing to lose his life, he had an amazing experience no other human had ever experienced. He also helped the United States to make huge scientific advances.
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matt. 16:24)
If we are unwilling to take a risk of obedience to Jesus, we will not see his power displayed. If we are unwilling to let our desires come second to His, we will not see His will be done through us.
But when we are ready to say “yes” to what ever He calls us to, then we will find a new life and power.
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. (Matthew 16:25)
Jesus was uniquely satisfied. Are we?
Jesus’ fulfillment came from knowing he was the beloved Son of the Father and from doing God’s work in the world. Both are essential for us, too.
From time to time I meet believers who express a spiritual discontent, dryness or boredom. I am sure many more experience this but don’t express it. Could it be that we are not centered on the two realities which gave Jesus his inner fulfillment?
Sometimes we talk about the importance of knowing we are God’s children, and not just being his servants. This is true, but I believe that in order to be fulfilled we need to both experience the unconditional love of being a child of God, but also the thrill of doing his work. Just one will not leave us healthy enough.
At the start of his ministry Jesus came up out of the waters of baptism to hear the voice of the Father say “This is my beloved Son…” What an experience! We each need to revel in the reality that through Christ we are adopted into our Heavenly Father’s family.
But if we focus only on “being” God’s child, we will miss out on so much that comes from engaging int eh mission of our Heavenly Father.
After speaking with the woman at the well (John 4) Jesus’ disciples arrived with food. He told them he had food they didn’t know about, which was to do the will and works of the Father. Then in the very next verse Jesus points to the harvest. In other words, the “work” Jesus was about was reaching people far from God, and He urges His followers to see the opportunity He does.
There are many ways to serve in the Kingdom of God. However, believers will be most fulfilled when they in some way are engaged in reaching people for Christ. In fact, the more directly one is doing this, the more fulfilled you will be. There is nothing quite like the thrill of helping to introduce someone to Jesus and see their life changed. All ministries are important, but they shouldn’t replace the front-line sharing of Christ.
If we are opening our hearts and minds to the reality that we are beloved children of God, and also participating in the harvest work, there will be lasting fulfillment.
Steve Cordle is the founding and lead pastor of Crossroads Church, a small group-based congregation with five locations in the Pittsburgh metro area. He also leads a18movement, a non-profit dedicated catalyzing church plants globally. Steve is the author of three books: A Jesus-Shaped Life, Hear it, See it, Risk it, and The Church in Many Houses. He coaches pastors and church planters in the United States and Western Europe. He enjoys running, playing classical piano, and all Pittsburgh sports. Steve is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary (M. Div) and United Theological Seminary (D. Min). Steve and his wife, Linda, have three grown sons, three daughters-in-love, and three grandchildren.
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