I really like my job. Like…a lot. Every day, I get to help college students make plans and find resources to help them reach all of their life goals. It can be challenging, at times. But watching them find success in the course of their journey is amazingly rewarding. Thankfully, as long as folks keep going to college, I will get to be a part of this work. Well, at least until the stupid internet ruins everything.
I have considered other careers, but job security is a big concern of mine. So I definitely didn’t want to go into one of those fields where the goal is to work yourself out of a job. For instance, if I was to become a police officer, I would definitely put an end to crime in my city. Thus, I would be out of a job. The same thing goes for being a judge, unless I could get my own TV show. Or if I worked as an “Awesome Consultant,” I would find myself less and less useful as I helped the masses become more awesome.
However, isn’t “working yourself out of a job” part of a Christian’s job description? Yes, there will always be people to love and serve. And, of course, there will never be a reason to stop worshiping or praying continuously. I’m talking more about the great commission.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV)
While it may seem impossible to us, this is our goal. We are to do everything our power to make disciples of all nations. We are supposed to be making sure that everyone on the planet knows about Jesus, who He is to us, and the truth of the gospel.
Go ahead and say, “Jamie, there is no way we can reach everyone before Jesus comes back.” While it may seem like a long shot, I humbly disagree. This is what Jesus commanded us to do, and we should be doing everything in our power to reach that goal. We should be spending every ounce of our energy trying to work ourselves out of a job. Let’s get to it.
Every Tuesday during lunch, I get the privilege of sitting around the table with several of my spiritual mentors. We have lunch whilst discussing ideas about how to help our pastor creatively deliver his message each week. We dig into deep spiritual issues, we laugh at each other, and we come up with some pretty interesting ways to present the gospel. It is an honor to be a part of that group.
During a recent discussion, we stumbled upon the topic of death. We talked about how peoples’ perceptions of life change when they realize they we will be dying soon. We talked about how the image of death compares to the thought of dying to yourself as an act of obedience to God. And finally we ended up talking about the great disconnect between Christian beliefs about eternity and our irrational fear of death.
Think about it. If we, as Christians, truly believe that a physical death results in eternally being in the presence of our Creator, why are we so scared? If we are on our way out of this world full of pain and headed toward heaven, why are we so sad? If our eternity is as glorious as we claim it to be, why do we spend so much energy trying to milk every second we can out of this dump?
I know that we worry about loved ones and how they will go on without us. I realize that we often feel like we have unfinished business here. And I recognize the fact that large amounts of pain and suffering often accompany death. But in the span of forever, where time does not even exist, these things will not matter in the least.
When you are standing in the presence of God, giving eternal thanks to Jesus for His sacrifice, and singing joyful praises with every breath, the minute details of this life won’t even be an afterthought. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that our time here does not matter. In fact, Jesus rarely spoke of the afterlife and focused His ministry on how we should treat each other here. We were put here for a purpose
, and we need to do everything in that power to fulfill that purpose.
However, it is important to keep in mind that this is only our temporary home. We were ultimately created to spend eternity with God, and as long as we have accepted our role here on earth that is exactly what we will do.
When we fear death, we are showing nonbelievers that we are really not that confident about this salvation we talk so much about. We make it seem as though it is not real to us. And if it is not real to us, how can we make it real for them?
I listen to Christian radio quite a bit. In fact, K-Love and Air-1 have been assigned multiple preset buttons on different stations in my wife’s car in case the signal starts to fade. Either that, or she is subtly discouraging my budding rap career. To be completely honest, I feel like any song that starts to pick up momentum gets drastically overplayed. I suppose that is not all that different from secular radio, but I believe it causes many songs that could have an impact to be overlooked.
“What If” was a song on Nichole Nordeman’s Brave album that came out in 2005. It had some relative popularity, and I felt like I heard it fairly often for a few months. However, due to some other very popular albums that came out shortly thereafter, it was quickly pushed to the background. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve heard this song in three or four years.
However, I still think about the lyrics of the song often. The song talks about asking yourself questions about what you believe, specifically about Jesus. The chorus goes something like this:
“But what if you're wrong?
What if there's more?
What if there's hope you never dreamed of hoping for?
What if you jump?
And just close your eyes?
What if the arms that catch you, catch you by surprise?
What if He's more than enough?
What if it's love?”
Being a math guy, I tend to think about things in a logical kind of way. So I find myself constantly asking the question, “what if I’m wrong?” so I can weigh the consequences before taking a risk. The majority of the time I am wrong and I want to be sure that my mistake won’t get me fired, killed, or kicked out of my house. However, none of those consequences even compare to the impact being wrong about my faith would have. So obviously, I have spent some time thinking about this.
I know Jesus Christ is real, and He is the Son of God. I have experienced His presence on so many occasions and my relationship with Him has changed my life. However, I still have to wonder what happens if I am wrong.
If I continue my life as planned and I am dedicated to serving God in every aspect of my life, what will the results look like? Hopefully, I will keep getting better at following the teachings of the Bible. I will find ways to encourage, love, and serve everyone around me. I plan to tell other people about my relationship with Jesus in hopes that they will get to know Him as well. I want to be as much like Jesus as possible.
What if I’m wrong? Well, it will seem like I have dedicated my life to becoming a better person and helping other people for no real tangible reward after I die. I may have also led others to do so. So the only result of me living a Christian lifestyle that could even be argued as negative is that I missed out on doing more things for myself while I was alive. I was not selfish enough.
You know what? If I’m wrong about who Jesus is and the absolute worst result is that I was not selfish enough, I’m perfectly okay with that. That is a risk I am more than willing to take.
Now, I am not really into “fire insurance” evangelism. Being a Christian is about so much more than a fear of hell. However, if I was not a Christian and the results of my “what if I’m wrong?” analysis showed eternal consequences, that would be enough for me to take a deeper look into Christianity.
What about you? Are you comfortable with the risk associated with deciding to follow Christ? If you are not a Christian, have you thought about what the results of your decision will be? What if you’re wrong?