by Josh Vande Hey
From Pastor Joe: Josh is a graduate of Christ The Rock’s Pastoral Development class, has been a small group leader in Student Ministries, and is passionate about living for Christ. I’m excited for his future, and excited to see how he’s going to draw others to live for the Kingdom. I hope you’re challenged and inspired by his devotion for us as we prepare for Easter.
Have you ever had one of those moments in your life that changed everything? Maybe it changed the logistics in your life, or even moreso, changed the way you view life entirely. I’m sure we’ve all had these; a childhood event, finding your significant other, gaining or losing a job or a loved one . . .
Many of us are living one of those moments right now. With a pandemic affecting our world and country, many of us are beginning to see life through a new lens. For some, it’s scary and overwhelming: finances, health, relationships, school. You may be left reeling with thoughts of what could be. Maybe you’ve entered a state of survival and doing whatever it takes to try and make it through. These survival techniques, though, rarely disappear with time. In fact, after things return to normal, you’ll continue to live with these imprinted on your brain. You might find yourself constantly preparing yourself for the next challenge. This time may change the way you live and view the rest of your life.
Our responses aren’t all the same, though. Others’ experiences might be a bit different. Some parents are relishing the opportunity to slow down and spend time with family. Some individuals are enjoying the opportunity to begin the journey of understanding who they truly are, and what they were truly created for. This response, too, can be lasting: I imagine these are not temporary lessons that vanish once the threat of disease is passed. Your priorities may permanently change the way you live and view life.
Which leads me to thoughts of Easter. If this type of earthly experience can have such a lasting impact on how we live our lives, how much more should the death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, impact the way we live our lives?
It’s seems crazy to ask . . . crazy to even begin comparing. How can you compare a temporary event on earth such as disease, to the eternal impact of the death and resurrection of our Savior? Yet many of our lives don’t reflect the insurmountable distance between these events. Many of us will change our lives for the pandemic, yet too few of us change our lives for Him.
Jesus displayed both His incredible love (John 15:13) and His unmatched power (John 16:33) as He gave up his life on the cross only to be buried and rise again. Don’t you think that should change our lives?
Yet what does He ask for in response? It seems that He changed everything . . . and simply asks for our hearts. We get to choose our response to the Cross, just like we can choose our response to the smaller moments that change everything. Faced with the reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection, what will we do? He wants all of our hearts to be completely devoted to Him. Is yours? I’m drawn to the verse in Matthew where Jesus shows the disciples what he expects from their earthly lives:
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Are you busy trying to save yourself for your own sake, or lose yourself for His? If I want to be a real follower of Jesus, instead of just a fan of Jesus . . . If I want to live my life for Eternity instead of just for earthly pleasure and comfort . . . If I want to give my WHOLE life to Him . . . Then it’s time for me to start living out the death, burial and resurrection of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, no matter what my circumstances are. That would truly change everything, for my whole life beyond this crisis, and for eternity.