September 22, 2018

Pastoral Nuggets: The Cost of Success

Every great and worthwhile achievement has a price that the achiever must pay.

And generally speaking, that price is not cheap.

As Christians, we have been given a mandate. We are to go into all the world and make disciples of Jesus Christ.

Acts 1:8 teaches us that our mandate begins at home, (Jerusalem) it extends to our state, (Judea) it extends to North America, (Samaria) and it extends to the uttermost parts of the world.

Our mandate is to change the world for the better. There is no nobler endeavor than this.

In fact, Jesus taught that those who would follow Him must become the light of the world. And He said our light would be like a city set on a hill and that it could not be hidden!

But the price for being the light of this world is by no means cheap. And the level of commitment required of us is very high. Sometimes, it will cost us all we have and all we are. As Victor Frankyl said, “What is to give light must endure burning.”

For a log on a fire, oil in a lamp, or a filament in a light bulb to produce light, there first comes the recognition and decision that the fuel for the light is – expendable. This cannot be articulated any better that what John the Baptist said regarding Jesus Christ in John 3:30. He said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

John the Baptist realized that the mission of Jesus Christ was of far greater importance than his ministry – or even his life. He realized that he was expendable. He was only fuel for the True Light of the World – Jesus Christ.

When speaking of the risks involved with taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, Missionary Jim Elliot, who would be killed while on mission to the Huaorani people of Ecuador, said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

He realized that the mission of Jesus Christ was of far greater importance than his ministry – or even his life. He realized that he was expendable. He was only fuel for the True Light of the World, Jesus Christ.

All of us were born dying.  None of us are permanent fixtures in this world.  We all have an appointment with death – then the judgment. We are all expendable!

The question then that begs an answer, regardless of if we’re John the Baptist, Jim Elliot, or John or Jane Doe, is this: For what cause will we expend the fuel of our lives? What flame will have burned brighter because we passed this way?

Many will expend the fuel of their lives on the pursuit of things like fame, pleasure, riches, recreation, and living life in excess; things that have no eternal value.

Others will choose to expend the fuel of their lives on things that do have eternal value.

I don’t know about you, but when I have expended all the fuel of my life, if I have made somebody smile along the way, if I have dried a tear, if I have given encouragement and hope, if I have given comfort, if I have made somebody’s load a little lighter and their day a little brighter, or if I have caused the flame of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to somehow burn brighter, then I will consider my life a success.

And I will count the costs associated with that success – a wonderful investment. You see, I’m expendable. And so are you! So, while we have fuel left to do so, let’s choose to expend it to produce worthwhile light in a dark, dark world. It’s worth it!

Remember, “What is to give light must endure burning.”  So, choose to become expendable for Jesus. After all, that’s the cost of success!

Brother Aaron

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