How do you think you would go about improving the world? Where would you start? What is the thing that most needs to be changed, to get things heading in the right direction? And what would you do, to make sure that the world kept moving in the right direction when you aren’t here any more?
Truth to tell, all of us have one life that we can use to make that kind of difference. Some people try; and some make an impressive go of it, while others crash and burn, or fizzle out more quietly. But one man has arguably made more difference to this world than any other. That man is Jesus. So how did he do it?
The gospel writer Luke tracks Jesus’ strategy for changing the world, and in Luke 6:12-26, he says that Jesus first took time out to consult with God. Then he chose twelve men to be his ‘apostles’ – the ones he would send – before sitting down on a level place with a crowd of his ‘disciples’ – his students – to explain what they were signing up for.
He told them that if they threw their lot in with him, they could expect to experience poverty, hunger, grief, and rejection – even to have people think they were evil. If they suffered because of Jesus and his message, they could be confident of God’s eternal blessing.
But if they chose to turn their back on him, to put comfort, and full stomachs and popularity and good times ahead of him, then they could assume they had already received all the blessing they were going to.
Jesus sets the same choice in front of us now: Are we willing to put him and his mission above our comfort, popularity, and happiness? No? Then be aware that the good times have a use-by date. Yes? Then be joyful, be confident, because he has given you life to the fullest, life that will never end..