Your One and Only Life
“How old are you?”
As a 16 year old college student, I would often hear this question.
I did not begin college early because I was a genius (I’m not) or because I wanted to become a doctor or a lawyer. (I can’t stand needles or paperwork.)
I began college early because I knew there is so much I want to do with my one and only life, so the sooner I get started, the better.
But what many people were actually asking was, “Why are you giving up your fun high school years to tackle college? And what about all the experiences of college you’ll miss?”
I didn’t understand it.
As a world-changer on mission for Christ, what do we truly value?
It seems to me, people were probably asking similar questions to the twelve young guys following Jesus 2000 years ago.
Many theologians believe the disciples were actually a rag-tag gang of teens and 20 some-things.
When Jesus first walked up to Peter and Andrew, they were fishing.
They were comfortable.
They had been rejected for formal education by the rabbis of the day, so they did what everyone else had done before them: they found a job that would pay the bills.
It is dangerously easy to fall into this trap of normality. It was easy for them, and it is easy for us.
So here we have this young guy named Andrew sitting in a boat because he was not smart enough to be in school.
But someone interrupted his life and called him to sacrifice the comfort, the ease, and the normality of his life.
Along came Jesus.
This guy, the Son of God, was sent to earth to save the entire human race and launch a worldwide movement that would change the world for the rest of time.
I would think Jesus would be on major recruitment mode at this point.
For a mission as grand as His, you would think He would want some really impressive leaders surrounding Him.
So who does he recruit first?
Two reject brothers sitting in a boat who are barely old enough to grow a beard.
Why does He do that?
There could be so many reasons why Jesus would make such a choice, but let me suggest just one.
Jesus was no people pleaser.
Jesus was a down-to-earth guy who wasn’t afraid to ruffle some feathers or stir up a debate.
He lived in a way that made a statement.
Everything He did seemed to confuse, frustrate, or offend those around Him.
And I think his choice in friends was no different. He was making a statement.
I imagine when Jesus approached Andrew, it wasn’t because there was no one else.
It was because Jesus wanted Andrew on His team.
Jesus was making a statement about young rejects for the rest of history.
He loves inviting us, young rejects, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
He delights in showing the world He can use us, no matter how old we are or how disqualified the world says we are.
But what if Andrew had heard Jesus’ invitation and responded, “Wow, thanks so much for the offer of doing something amazing with my life Jesus, I really appreciate it. But I would rather stay in my boat. I want to stay in what I know. I’m not hurting anyone in this boat! Besides, all of my friends are in their boats. My life is nothing spectacular…but it works for me.”
Can you imagine that? No! Because it seems ridiculous.
And yet this is exactly how we so often respond.
We hear the whispers of the invitations of God.
We know He wants us to use our lives, every part of them, to make a difference and glorify His name.
But everybody else is settling for an easy job.
Everybody else is spending their week nights on Netflix and their weekends at the beach.
Everybody else is using their money to buy a nicer car.
…so why shouldn’t we?
Now, those things aren’t bad.
Those things do, however, become dangerous when they threaten to distract us from the grand work God has called us to.
If you look at the life of the average American today, it often revolves around what we want and what makes us happy.
I am 150% guilty of this.
But the most important things to which I can dedicate my time are the very things that have eternal value.
When Jesus was inviting a teenager to be on His world changing team, He was inviting him into something He wants to invite us into as well.
I can imagine Jesus taking Andrew by the shoulders, looking straight into his eyes and saying, “You can choose to stay in the same path everyone else takes. Or you can, instead, choose to join me on the adventure of changing the world for all of eternity. Your choice. But I have created you to impact eternities.”
I don’t know what God will ask of you in order to do His Kingdom work.
But I do know He asks you to take a step now.
Who says a 16 year old can’t be in college?
Who says a teenager couldn’t be on Jesus’ very first world changing team?
Who says a 25 year old can’t write a book?
Who says a 21 year old shouldn’t start a ministry?
The point of this article is not college.
The point of this article is eternity.
When you look at your iCal, how much of it is full of activities that will not matter in 100 years?
How much of your calendar is full of intentional moments when you are making a Kingdom play- a play that will affect the Kingdom of God.
Andrew wasn't doing any harm in his boat.
But he certainly wasn’t doing anything remarkable either.
Jesus has a remarkable vision for our lives.
Jesus walked right up to him and challenged him to get out of his boat and join in the adventure and privilege of actually changing the world we live in.
And our Savior extends the very same challenge to you today.
Not in ten years when you’re 30.
The one who died for YOU invites you to use your one and only life for HIM.
Andrew got out of his boat.
Andrew left behind everything He knew to follow Jesus with complete abandon.
Following Jesus is not a side dish kind of choice.
When we follow Jesus, it IS who we are.
It is the cause waking us up in the morning.
It is the drive pushing us when we are worn out.
It is the truth we would give our very lives for.
So what are you going to be called to sacrifice on this adventure with Christ?
This is how we live out our adventure: sacrificing our entire lives for Christ.
I don’t know what it is for you.
And I don’t know what it will be for me in the future.
Maybe it’s something small like a college experience.
Maybe it’s something simple like you delete your facebook or pinterest.
Maybe it’s something new like you stop watching your favorite tv show and begin to mentor a person who matters.
Maybe it’s something unknown like moving to a third world country.
What is your Kingdom play?
What will you do today that will actually matter in eternity?
We’ve got one shot at this life, so let’s make it matter.