Just the word dying sounds like it’s the end of life. The end of anything that’s good. Jesus is telling us here if we want to find real life, we need to put others ahead of ourselves. We may be thinking, “I am comfortable and I enjoy my time off and frankly, I don’t want to change anything.” I totally understand that! I love my time off! I love relaxing and just spacing out!
When we moved from California to Oklahoma in 1989, it was to get involved in ministry. I jumped in and started helping out in bus ministry and with the 4 and 5 year old class. My husband on the other hand, felt he had not heard from God on what he was supposed to do, so he did the logical thing . . . nothing! He just kept praying about where God wanted him to get involved. He felt with something that important he surely didn’t want to make a mistake. In the mean time, he was really enjoying his time off. You see, we had owned a business and sold it along with our home, so we had enough money to take a long rest and really get God’s heart on what we were supposed to do.
At least until the day I conned him into helping me out in the 4 and 5 year old class. After the first day, he realized that “he hated working with kids!” His feet hurt and he felt like it was a total waste of his time. He felt his time would have been better spent in the adult service or praying about where God wanted him to get involved. However, I was pretty persuasive and before he knew what hit him, he found himself helping out again the next week. He kept telling himself that maybe it would be better this week, but it wasn’t. I don’t even know how I did it, but there he was in class again for week three. I wish I could tell you how amazing I am, but I’m pretty sure the real credit belongs to the Spirit of God; He was setting him up for his destiny!!
Sure enough, this day was different. There was a young boy in the class who never paid attention to anything or anybody. He would crawl around the classroom or lay under the chairs and totally ignore you when you spoke to him. He would never look anyone in the eye. This particular day would be a turning point for my husband and Clarke. Kip got down on the floor with him and asked him if he could help him listen to the lesson. He got up into his chair and helped my husband listen to the lesson. From that day on, Clark and Kip were buddies. He was hooked!
The last time we saw Clarke he was in fifth grade leading an altar team and praying with a group of kids to receive Christ. Kip’s life was never the same from that fateful day. The rest is history that led to Bible School and 20 years as a Family Pastor. Before this time, he lived on the emotional roller coaster. One week, he’d feel great about life and the next he would be depressed. The cycle was a downward spiral that repeated itself over and over again. It turned out that when he got his eyes off of himself and onto others his life leveled out. He has never been on that emotional roller coaster since that day! Plus, it opened the door to God’s plan for his life.
The key was just what Jesus said, “You find your life when you lose it.” Many people think that only the pastors make a difference. The truth is, everybody has the power to make a difference. Get off the roller coaster and really start enjoying the ride!