This past week I had the opportunity to volunteer at Passion 2013. As volunteers, it was frequently emphasized to us that this gathering of students could contain the next John Piper or Beth Moore or Chris Tomlin. Several of these students would go out from here to start megachurches, influence denominations, and fight to end injustice all the way to the farthest reaches of the earth. And we would have the opportunity to be on the front lines of serving them during this week.
I heard the story of Matt Chandler, an influential megachurch pastor in the Dallas area. Matt Chandler attended the first ever Passion gathering in Austin as a college student back in 1997. During those days God turned his world upside down and sent him out as a flaming arrow across the sky for His glory.
My first reaction to a story like this is to think: What about me? I have been coming to these things for over a decade now, just hoping and praying that God would rock my world and send me out as a flaming arrow across the sky for His glory, a la Matt Chandler. Hasn’t happened yet.
But there is more to the story. Some Passion attendees will go on to be the next John Piper or Matt Chandler or missionary to Africa. But not all. As a matter of fact, I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of us will go out and get jobs and have families. For us, our calling will be to live faithfully in our jobs and our families and seek to change the culture positively wherever God has placed us. Not nearly as sexy as starting a megachurch or making a hit worship album or going to Africa, but hey.
You may go out and start that megachurch or make that hit worship record or write that book or start that organization to fight sex trafficking in the Philippines. Great. But even if you do none of these things, there are three things that God calls us to do every day. If we can get a generation of young people to come around these things, just think what a difference it will make in our world.
–We are to realize that we are poor. It is easy for me to think that I am rich because I have a new place in the city and a nice cushy job in a trendy part of town. You also have plenty of reasons to think you are rich. In reality we are not. We are just as poor as that beggar standing at the end of the exit ramp with the “Will work for food” sign. In fact we are worse off because we think we actually have something. But the true reality of our situation is that in the sight of God we are all in a massive amount of debt which we have no hope of ever repaying. That debt has been paid on our behalf. Once we recognize this, we are in position to inherit a kingdom–the kingdom of heaven.
–We are to realize that we are blind. This one is hard, because we all have eyes and they work very well, thank you. Of course we are to use them to see–aren’t we? But God calls us to walk by faith not by sight, to trust Him for the things we cannot see. Jesus had no interest in giving sight to people who thought they could see. If we let go of thinking we can see, then we open ourselves up to being able to see with God’s sight.
–Finally, we are to realize that we are dead. We are not bad people who need to be made good, or good people who need to be made better. It’s worse than that. We are dead people who need to be made alive. Jesus calls us to take up our cross every day and die with him. Because only what is dead can be raised to life.
No, the world does not need another Chris Tomlin. Or another John Piper. Or another missionary to Africa. What the world needs instead is a generation of young people who will realize that they are poor so that they may inherit a kingdom, realize that they are blind so that they may see, and realize that they are dead so that they may live.