Kigundu Ndwiga, Stewardship Director, East Central Africa Division

Summary: The heroic decision to integrate the lordship of Christ into our lives must not be put off. Jesus underscores the importance of serving God during the day, before nightfall. Living for the line means having an eternal perspective, seizing the moment and following Him.

Life’s brevity

The brevity of life has dawned upon me. My awakening began one June morning in 2004. My wife called, shattering my peaceful morning with the depressing news of the sudden death of my best friend, confidant, and mentor. Julius died in a traffic accident. He was only forty-five. It had only been one year since he finished the long path to his PhD in New Testament theology. He died one week before the graduation of his first class of students. Moses was right. Our days “quickly pass and we fly away.”

Then my brother-in-law, Charles—a yuppie, rapidly climbing the corporate ladder, amassing wealth and seeking political office—was diagnosed with colon cancer and his priorities suddenly changed. During the last year and a half of his life, while enduring energy sapping chemotherapy, Charles spent his time pursuing Christ and sharing His reality with others. Like Julius, he also was forty-five.

Solomon challenges us to remember our Creator when we are young by surrendering to His lordship. The heroic decision to integrate the lordship of Christ into our lives and service must not be put off. Jesus underscores the importance of serving God during the day, before dusk: “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work” (Jn 9:4).

We are like the fading flowers of the field—like a candle in the wind whose flame can be snuffed out at any moment. Even if we were to live “long” like my grandma whom we buried recently at age one-hundred fifteen, we must ask ourselves; “What are one-hundred fifteen years compared to eternity?” As someone aptly put it, “Our life is a small dot, while eternity is a long, continuous line.” He then posed a thought-provoking question: “Are we living for the dot or for the line?”

Living for the line

Living for the line means living in such a way that the eternal perspective is brought to bear on every aspect of life. Our lives are not measured by quantity, but by quality—the blessed richness of life. Jesus only lived thirty-three years on earth, but that brief life has affected the destiny of billions, changed history, and impacted eternity. It is for this reason He declares, “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full (Jn 10:10).” We rejoice as we enjoy the overflow of the richness of that life. Indeed, Jesus lived for the line.

In His footsteps

We must live for the line like Jesus, if our lives are to overflow and bless others, we must follow in His footsteps. For becoming like Him is our goal.

1Footstep One. Be filled and learn to walk in the Spirit. Jesus’ words echo this truth: “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive….” (Jn 7:38, 39). Only a full life can overflow in blessing to others.

2Footstep Two: Receive the Spirit’s vision of your special area of service. Each of us is unique and custom-made for special service. You have been given spiritual gifts to enable you to perform that unique service. Jesus had a very clear vision of His service. He articulated it in Luke 4:18-19. For your service to be effective, you must zero in on your vision, rather than becoming “a jack of all trades and a master of none.” You must be very clear about the God-given agenda for your life, so that you will not be submerged in the agendas of others. As you serve, remember the words of John the Baptist: “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven” (Jn 3:27).

3Footstep Three. Surrender everything to this God-given service. Total involvement is the only way to fruitful service. Jesus says it all in John 12:32: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single seed, but if it dies, it produces many seeds.” Our service must not be hindered by self-preservation, but should be marked by self-sacrifice, like our Lord.

4Footstep Four. Never give up on your God-given service. As fragile jars of clay, we often become discouraged by obstacles that get in the way. Do not give up or give in. To continue, acknowledge your weakness and draw your strength from God, your great Help in trouble. The more difficult it becomes, determine to follow Jesus to Gethsemane and draw strength from the Almighty God who has promised you His presence.

5Footstep Five. Continue serving, even when you do not see success. God has called you, not to be successful, but to be faithful. Didn’t Paul say, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants, nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (1Cor 3:6-7). Work diligently and faithfully, but leave the results to God. Serve as Christ served. At Calvary He appeared to be the great failure of history, but because He was faithful, God exalted Him to the highest place and established His kingdom forever.

Conclusion

Because life is short, seize today and serve Jesus Christ with all your heart. As you serve Him, fix your eyes on Jesus—with great anticipation—waiting for the day when you hear the beautiful words, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.” Let us live for the line!

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October–December, 2006

Service