I recently watched a movie called “The Lost City of Z” in which an early 20th-century explorer from England made multiple trips to South America to search for an ancient civilization that many believed did not exist. He sacrificed years at a time with his family in order to search for this civilization that may or may not be real. Several times throughout the movie, his wife reminds him that, “A man’s reach should always exceed his grasp,” and this pushes him to continue to daily strive for something in which he may never succeed.
One month ago I began a year long internship as a student ministry associate at First Baptist Church Mt. Juliet, and perhaps the greatest temptation I have faced here has been to be prideful because I’m in the ‘right spot’. This leads to me being comfort-seeking and apathetic towards the mission of Christ. I have found myself believing that because I am simply working in a church I am fulfilling my Christian duties, and of course while I know this is not true, my sinful heart runs to the comfort this lie promises. When I become prideful in my circumstances, I have a tendency to forget that following Jesus is less about me being in the right spot, and more about walking with and trusting Jesus in whatever spot I find myself.
This is not a new trap that the devil has set for me, in almost every season of my Christian walk I have gone through times where I believed that because I was living in the dorms for ministry purposes, going to summer project, involved in a good campus ministry, or leading a discipleship group, I was doing the right thing and therefore had no reason to change anything, and yet it was during these seasons that I scarcely shared my faith or prayed. What I failed to see in these seasons was that these decisions do not sanctify me, only intimacy with Christ can do that. It was like I pulled out of my driveway for a cross-country road trip and then wondered why I was not immediately at my destination. My decision to go on a road-trip does not complete the road-trip for me, only the drive does that.
I do not want to discourage anyone from making big decisions and sacrifices for Christ, I only beg you do not substitute your sacrifice or decision for your daily walk with Christ. It will always be tempting to pat ourselves on the back for the grand decisions we’ve made for the mission of Christ, all the while forgetting the reason we made those decisions was so we could daily deny ourselves and carry our crosses (Luke 9:23). The great lordship decisions we make are not a means to an end, but a means to trust and follow Jesus, and so they are inseparable.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). The fact that only the Lord can build the house does not deter the laborers from waking up and going to work, and so it should not deter us from reaching for things that are only in the Father’s grasp. I pray that this blog entry encourages you to not only make big decisions, but also little steps as you walk with Jesus daily. Trust God, pray for the lost, share the gospel, disciple a younger believer.
I pray you live beyond your reach, because nothing is beyond His.