READ: Luke 16
THINK: I need to start by being vulnerable. Then I hope to be inspirational. We’ll see how it goes. This passage was not easy for me to read today. I broke down by the time I reached the end, and I write this with a heavy heart. I have been thinking a lot about death in the last few days, particularly about suicide. First because of a theological question posed to me on Sunday by someone who knew a young girl who had attempted to take her life and is currently surviving only on life support. And then, more personally today, as I got the news that a college friend had taken his own life. I am shocked and heartbroken. And convicted.
I’m convicted because I know that I could have done more to tell him about the love, hope, forgiveness, and healing available through Jesus Christ. And now I don’t have any more chances left. I don’t believe that God predestines people for heaven and hell and decided long before any of us were born that he’d take some of us and reject others. Frankly, I think that notion comes very near to being outside orthodoxy and anyone who holds it needs to reread their Bibles carefully while focusing more closely on the character of God than the translation of a few phrases in Paul’s letters. But I do very firmly believe that people get one lifetime to put their faith in God and after that their eternity is sealed. If they reject him and refuse his gracious offer of reconciliation and relationship during their lifetime, God won’t force them into eternity with him. It is a choice set before all of us as God constantly and preveniently calls us to himself. But we only have one lifetime and then death comes to us all.
Here’s my challenge: look around you today. Everybody you see has exactly one lifetime to know Jesus. And that lifetime is short. They probably won’t die tomorrow. But, as I was just painfully reminded, they might. We cannot afford to sit back and let fear or selfishness prevent us from sharing Christ with them. Nothing could possibly be more important then their meeting Jesus. And demographic studies tell us that the 7 billion people alive on the planet today are roughly half the total population of human history. Population has grown exponentially and so they estimate that roughly 14 billion people have ever lived. Half the population of heaven and hell are walking around on earth today. Think about that for a minute.
It’s time for us to act. Let’s start with a pep talk. Please take 3 minutes and watch this video right now.
I love that video. He is just a kid and he doesn’t know everything – he’s right – but he says some stuff in that pep talk that we all need to hear. My favorite line in the whole thing – other than the part about Space Jam being awesome because, let’s face it, Space Jam is awesome – is when he says: “This is life people! You air coming through your nose, you got a heartbeat. That means it’s time to do something!”
I think he’s right, too, that we were made to be awesome. I mean, we read the book of Genesis and it tells us that we were created in the image of God. It doesn’t get any “gooder” or “awesomer” than that! But so many of us settle for less. We get beaten down by the world and by our fears and we settle for small dreams. We think about our own futures and we think and decide that we can’t make much of an impact so we dream tiny dreams. We walk into school every day and our greatest desire – our greatest vision for our lives – is to just survive it! We wanna make it through the day without anything bad happening or without getting made fun of or even without getting noticed. And sometimes we make excuses and keep waiting for the next phase of life to begin before dreaming big about how to impact the world for Jesus. I just wanna survive right now but THEN – College, when I get a job, when I get married, after my kids grow up….THEN…THEN…THEN…
But I wanna challenge you to dream bigger – to get a bigger vision for your life and for who and what God is calling you to be and the impact he is calling you to make. Because I believe this at the core of my being: If the size and scope of your vision for your life is not intimidating to you then it’s probably insulting to God. This is a God who created you in his image! This is a God who is living inside you if you’ve put your faith in him! This is a God who said, “Those who believe in me will do even greater things than I have done!” If your vision for your life isn’t so huge that’s it’s a least a little bit scary then your vision is too small! If your dream is just to survive – or if your dream is self-centered and its just about little, inconsequential things that you want for yourself – or if your dream is about small things that don’t matter and don’t make a difference then your dream is stupid. It’s time to get a new dream and get going!
We only get one shot at this life. One chance to live every single moment that we live and then it’s gone. And we can’t get it back. The total number of times in your lifetime that you will walk into your school or your job or your family gatherings decreases by one every time you walk in. The times are numbered. Our days our numbered. But this is our time! Right here, right now, at this moment in human history in this place it’s our time! It’s our time to make a difference. It’s our time to change the world. And we can do it! Not because we’re strong or we’re able but because our God is and he stands with us and he fights for us and he wants to take the broken things and the broken people around us and make them new. And he invites us to be his hands and feet – his agents of change in this world. The question isn’t whether we can, it’s whether we’re willing. Because we are able! And the message we carry – the gospel message of Jesus Christ – is the singe most life-changing, earth-shattering message the world has ever known.
Will you bring it to your world before it’s too late, for you or for those around you?
PRAY: Pray for the guts and the courage and the big, bold vision to be a world-changer who shares Jesus with those around you today before they’re gone and you don’t have any chances left.