When you study the gospel accounts of our Lord, you find a simple man with a simple calling. He wasn’t simpleminded, of course, for He was omniscient; and His task on earth was no easy thing. But Jesus could tell you in ABC terms what His life was all about.
As He began His itinerant preaching ministry by the blue waters of Galilee and along the bustling sidewalks of Jerusalem, He explained His calling to all who asked.
- “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
- “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Matthew 9:13)
- “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.” (Mark 1:38)
- “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 6:38)
- “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.” (John 18:37)
Can you state your mission that simply?
Our Lord’s very lifestyle was simple. He once observed that foxes had holes and birds had nests, but He Himself didn’t have a place to lay His head. He slept wherever He was, and His home was wherever the Father’s will took Him.
But it wasn’t just His lifestyle that was simple, it was His purpose. He was single-focused on God’s mission for Him and concerned about the eternal destination of all He met. He wanted to finish the work the Father had given Him. He wasn’t concerned about what He was missing in the world, but about what He was gaining in eternity.
He recommends the same for you and me. In one of His parables, Jesus warns us to guard the simplicity of His calling on our life. In the story of the sower, some of the seed fell on thorny ground, and prickly plants sprang up and choked the seed.
Later, when the disciples asked Him to interpret the parable, Jesus explained, “He who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22).
That can happen to you and me. The apostle Paul cautioned, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works” (1 Timothy 6:17-18). In Second Timothy, he warned, “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4).
How easily our ambitions for Christ fall prey to lesser, earthly ambitions.
One of the major landmarks in Sapporo, Japan, is a statue honoring American professor William S. Clark.
The statue is eye-catching, with the bronzed doctor pointing dramatically as if in mid-sentence, his eyes alert and passionate. Prominently engraved on the base of the statue are the English words, “Boys, Be Ambitious.”
What most people don’t know is that the city fathers of Sapporo only quote a portion of Clark’s original statement. What he actually said as he left Hokkaido University in Sapporo to return home was, “Boys, Be Ambitious for Christ!”
Somehow the “for Christ” part has been forgotten.
The same can happen to us. Oh, how busy we are! How complicated our life can be! All the pursuits and hobbies and vacations and jobs and obligations! We can’t escape them all, but we can beware the barrenness of busyness.
One soul brought into the Kingdom is more eternal than all the honors of this world combined. That’s why God’s simple plan is to burden our heart to become fishers of men.
Are you caught up in the complexities of this world, choked by the thorns of endless demands and needless obligations? Have you forgotten God’s simple call to follow Him and be a fisher of men?
Stop! Slow down! Let your life’s mission be “The will of God! Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing else.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Jeremiah is the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church and the founder and host of Turning Point for God.)