"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body." 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 NIV
I heard on the radio today that Survivor has run for 38 seasons. And if you're a fan of the show and you live in the Dallas area, you might know that there is an upcoming casting call being hosted by CBS 11 in our area for the next season.
Whether or not you're a fan of the TV show, Survivor's long run suggests our culture is fascinated with the idea of surviving. Making it. Overcoming the odds. Outlasting others. And not being disqualified (aka - "voted off the island", to use the cliche spawned by the show). I"m sure the money has something to do with it, since the winner of any particular season of Survivor gets a million dollars.
In our day and age, there aren't many around us who are faced with an actual life and death struggle for survival (notwithstanding those among us fighting disease or addiction). Most of us don't face near death experience on a regular basis, like many in human history have surviving the harsh winters of the American Frontier, staying alive in the war-torn jungles of Vietnam, or surviving the spread of the Bubonic plague in Europe.
In spite of that blessed reality, we all know that surviving physically is not the ultimate goal. If we are not surviving spiritually, we are in a much worse situation than anyone who has faced physical survival. Even though we all know that in our head, I believe we must regularly ask the Lord to search us and know us like David did - to see if there is any wicked way in us and lead us in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24). We must be sure we are pressing into God and not just surviving, but being significant in His Kingdom by pursuing first the Kingdom AND His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
The reality is that many of the people that we come in contact with on a daily basis may be surviving physically, but they are actually not surviving spiritually and emotionally. We represent their only hope for ultimate eternal survival. So how do we reach them? How do we keep them from being voted off the island of eternity? First we must create a safe place for them to come and be ministered to. Then we have to step out and offer them love and truth and the healing and freeing power of Jesus. To that end, let's recognize the urgency of what we have to offer everyone that we meet and that come through the doors of our churches this weekend, and how vital our roles can be in connecting them to the Lord. Here are two questions we should all ask the Holy Spirit in preparation for daily interactions with those God has placed in our way:
1. Am I just surviving? How do I move from survival to significance in your Kingdom?
2. How do you want me to be a lifeline to those that aren't surviving or are just barely surviving at (fill in the blank)?
If we all do that we will move from survival to significance as the Holy Spirit graciously leads us.