Summary: Too many Christians live mediocre lives. But they don’t have to. We have within us the ability to make a difference in our everyday lives.
OPEN: "We rarely use the word ’cure,’" said the psychiatrist to his patient. "But after 5 years of therapy it is my pleasure to pronounce you completely cured." To his surprise an unhappy look came over the woman’s face. "What’s wrong?" he asked. "I thought you’d be thrilled."
"Oh, it’s fine for you," she said, "but 3 years ago I was Joan of Arc. Now I’m nobody."
APPLY: Yes, that was a joke… but what that person was saying was: “I’m not important, I’m not significant – it doesn’t matter who I am… because I have no value.” Like the woman at the well, they see their lives as of no importance whatsoever.
I believe that deep down inside each of us wants to be significant, wants to make difference.
Tony Campolo wrote: There is a latent desire in every human being to do something of worth that will have lasting significance. There is a longing in most people to do something that will make life better for others.
According to one Spanish philosopher "There is an urge in every man to render himself indispensable.
ILLUS: Several years ago, a study was taken of fifty people over the age of 95 were asked to respond to one question: "If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently… Three answers constantly emerged and dominated the results of the study.
1. I would reflect more
2. I would risk more
3. I would do more things that would live on after I am dead.
Why were those answers so dominant? Because those who were surveyed wanted to believe that it mattered that they had lived. That they had made a difference.
To one degree or another, we all want to believe that it matters that we have lived and that we have made a difference.
I. God says we can.
Ephesians 2:10 declares: "We are His workmanship, created Christ Jesus for good works that He prepared in advance for us to do."
This tells me two things
1. You and I have a distinctive task designed for especially for us.
2. God wants you and I to do something special. We can make a difference.
IN FACT: 2 Corinthians 9:8 tells us "God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work."
BUT in spite of this reality Howard Hendricks once observed: "I’ve never met a Christian who planned to have a mediocre life. But I’ve met plenty of mediocre Christians."
In other words, there are a lot of Christians doing nothing more than just existing.
Why would that be?
II. One reason may be that mediocre Christians don’t consider their role to be very important.
Their idea of being a good Christian may be to come and sit in church. Maybe they have never realized God desired to use them.
Or, maybe they don’t want to be used.
OR, maybe they’ve already done some things for the church and they want to retire. They feel they’ve done their part
ILLUS: I recently heard of a congregation where the members refused to work in the nursery. Their explanation? They had already “put in their time” Let somebody else do it for awhile.
They believed that there was a point where one “Retired” from serving God. They felt there came a time when you could choose not to be used by God.
That type person makes you wonder if understand they really understood what Jesus had done for them. It’s as if they were saying: “Yes Jesus I know you died for me… BUT I’ve paid my debt. We’re square now! AND I have this thing I need to do that’s so much more important than anything You may want me to do!”
BUT on an even more basic level they are declaring to the King of all the Universe – I know you want me to do something special, I know you’ve given me the privilege of working with You to change the world… but I have something more important on my plate.
ILLUS: Steve Jobs (founder of Apple Computer) once gave John Sculley this challenge when he was trying to woo Sculley away from being President of Pepsi-Cola. Jobs asked him: "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?"
God puts the same kind of challenge in front of us… “Do you want to spend the rest of your life on things that may not matter 5 years from now… may not make a difference in eternity… OR do you want a chance to change the world.
The Apostle Paul once told some friends “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me