Making an Impact
Many of us desire to make an impact on the world around us. This is not limited to Christ-followers. Listen to influencers of your generation. Nearly everyone is pushing an agenda of some kind. Some of them are caring and loving. Others are very self-serving. No matter the message, impact is possible on a broader scale today than ever before.
The followers of Jesus have made a more significant impact on the world than any other movement in history, but it has not been without a cost. From the very beginning, the counter-cultural message of the cross has brought about persecution and sacrifice. Nothing could be further from our social commitment to comfort and prosperity. I want to make a difference, but I don’t want it to cost me anything I value.
What Will it Cost
What will it cost to bring about change, the kind of change that Jesus began in his day?
Only God knows what he will ask of each of us, but our attitude toward whatever is ahead can be found in two clear scripture passages, both written by the apostle Paul.
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship." Romans 12:1 (NIV)
The critical thing to know about a sacrifice is that it doesn’t have any rights of its own. A sacrifice is offered up to glorify the object of worship – God. Its life is fully committed to God and God’s will.
"Let this mind be in your which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross." Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV)
Jesus as the Example
Jesus was our example. He is not asking us to do anything he has not already done. He gave up everything related to being equal to God. He then gave up everything associated with being a man, allowing himself to be sacrificed on a cross for our disobedience. This is the passion.
Jesus’ immediate followers took up the call, and many of them paid with their lives. Most of us will not die in the service of our king today, but the costs are still great. Are you willing to pay them?
Will you commit, no matter what the cost, to follow where Jesus is leading no matter what the cost?
What are today’s costs to have an impact for the kingdom?
Let’s start with the most significant commitment. It will cost you your will, your “right” to live out the life you want. Following Jesus means you go where he leads, not where you want to go.
Here is another big hurdle. To follow Jesus means to give up control of your life to him. You are a living sacrifice, remember. Sacrifices are not in control.
Discipleship may cost you time, money, safety, financial security (as our world defines it), and in some cases, your very life. People are still martyred today for following Jesus.
As we celebrate Passion Week this week and Easter this coming weekend, let’s allow it to remind us of the price Jesus paid to bring us into his family. Let’s also remember that he commissioned us to be his ambassadors to our community and the world around us. May we live lives of commitment to the kingdom.