If you missed church this week (don’t worry, I won’t tell on you), here is a link directing you to Cape Bible Chapel’s media player: http://www.capebiblechapel.org/media.php?pageID=5. You should check out the message (as the message will surely check you!).
Jesus was pretty different, at least from me He was. The general theme of my life has been summarized by the quote that was up on the wall of my high school Math Class: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars!”
I mean, that is what you do, right? Succeed your way out of your present situation, snicker at those stuck where they are or moving parallel, and just keep moving up, up, up . . . there are no ceilings in space.
But Jesus was from Nazareth; that was his hometown. He had a Nazareth Carpenter’s letterman jacket. “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Nathanael said when hearing that Jesus was from there. “Nazareth! Really?”
And it wasn’t only that Jesus was from Nazareth, but that He went back to Nazareth time and time again. Sure, the name may not have been Nazareth, just as the names of towns in little Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois counties are called different things. But they are the same in one way: basically, they are Nazareths. They are to be risen above, moved on from, dismissed and forgotten for the bigger and better.
That is my mindset. Jackson is too small, so I move to Cape. Cape isn’t all that flashy, so I look to St. Louis. St. Louis is a small city, so it is Chicago for me. Chicago has a crummy baseball team, so how about Boston (had to work that in there, right?). And what I do in this life is miss where I am because I’m busy always looking toward where I feel I ought to be: Bigger and better.
And in that way I live in a state of constantly calling, “Next,” rather than living with any sense of calling now. I miss opportunities. But most of all, I miss people.
Now there is nothing wrong with moving or pursuing career or seizing opportunities. But there is something wrong with a mindset that substitutes the importance of the Gospel for that which is fleeting. Is God’s Kingdom more weighty than your own? Does your answer reflect your lifestyle and the manner in which you pursue lost people?
God has us all here today (wherever “here” is for you). That may not mean you are in this place–wherever it may be–for life, but why worry about all that; you are here now. And probably, for most normal ones among us, there are others where you are. Family. Friends. Neighbors. Strangers. Are they a worthy calling? Is loving them and sharing with them and living and striving among them a worthwhile Gospel pursuit for you today?
We are to go into all the world to make disciples. Tomorrow that may mean any manner of places for you. Just now, today, that “all the world” means wherever you happen to be. It may not be flashy or crowded or “all the rage.” It may be some common, lackluster locale. It may just be another dusty Nazareth or Bethlehem or Advance or Jackson or Cape Girardeau. But it is where God fitted you for mission on this day, today. Will you go, today, like Jesus did, not worried so much about the “where” but always looking for the “who” with whom to share?
I hope you will. And I hope I will, too. In the end, after all, it isn’t about landing among the stars but shining like them.