Jump Start # 2200
1 Corinthians 1:29 “that no man should boast before God.”
Today is another milestone for our Jump Starts. Number 2200. Milestones are important in life. There are several that we notice. Graduation from high school is one. Graduation from college is another. Weddings. Babies born. Certain milestone birthdays, like 40. Retirement is another accomplishment or milestone. We celebrate these events. We gather with family and friends, eat, reflect and rejoice. Those are happy events in our lives.
Our passage concludes Paul’s reasoning on why God chose preaching. It’s considered foolish, base and despised by the world. And those that do such preaching, carry the same labels and tags by the world. Yet, through the wisdom of God, through the preaching of the Gospel, lives are saved, hope is renewed, and God is honored. God doesn’t really care what the world thinks. God isn’t interested in being popular. He is God. He is always right. The glory belongs to God. The honor goes to God. No one can boast in preaching, because it isn’t the preacher’s idea, but God’s. It’s God’s message. It’s God’s power. It’s God that saves.
With that, we are thankful to God for allowing this avenue and opportunity to share a few thoughts each day through this medium called Jump Starts. Recently someone asked why I number each one. Why not give them a title? If I was starting all over I probably would. We began this journey in 2010. I anticipated about one month of writing and then I’d move on to other projects. I figured numbering them would be an easy way to remember them. I never dreamed eight years later, and more than 2,000 articles later, I would still be doing this. And, no, I don’t remember all that I have written. There has been too many. Our readership lists continues to grow and we now have 23 Jump Start books on special themes. How long will this continue, I do not know. I am glad that it has made a difference and has helped a few people along the way. I’m also glad to see so many other preachers doing similar things. It’s wonderful.
Number 2200 is a milestone. Have you ever considered spiritual milestones in your life? Highlights spiritually in your life? Coming to Christ and being saved and changed by Him ought to be the top of your list. But is that it? Is that your only spiritual milestone? How about the first time you lead a public prayer? Do you remember when? Or, the first time you spoke before the congregation? How about the first time you ever taught a Bible class? How about the first time you had a guest preacher in your home for a meal? How about the first time you cleaned the church building? How about the first time you invited someone to come to services with you? How about the time you baptized someone? How about the time the church appointed you to serve as a shepherd or a deacon? Milestones. Important events in our spiritual history as well as the history of the congregation.
The interesting thing about milestones or records is that most folks who achieve these do not set out to do that. They just day after day do what they are good at and in time, they have broken records and set some new ones. The day I sat down and wrote Jump Start number 1, I never thought, “Wow, in just a few years I will be writing Jump Start number 2200.” Had I thought that, I most likely would have turned off the computer and gone back to bed. Drew Brees reached a milestone and a new record for passing last week. That was accomplished after weeks and weeks and years and years of doing what he knows how to do. That’s how most milestones are reached. One who sets out to be the all-time best usually fails. It’s the guy who simply continues on day after day.
Spiritual milestones are accomplished the same way. It’s day after day, week after week of serving, loving and walking with the Lord. In time, someone can look back and realize that they have been a Christian for half a century. Someone can add up that they have taken the Lord’s Supper a thousand times in their life. Or, a preacher can hit milestones such as preaching 25 years or 50 years. He may look in his records and realize that he has preached 10,000 sermons. The hours that went into each of those sermons was massive and he accomplished that milestone by simply doing what he does every week. God’s help and God’s grace makes it possible for us to do these things. The glory goes to God. The honor goes to God. A lifetime of service, faithfulness, devotion is a lifetime of everyday choices. It’s resisting the devil over and over. It’s often doing the right thing rather than the easy thing. It’s hanging in there when it’s hard. It’s staying with God when you do not feel like it. It’s growing, and worshipping God over and over.
Awhile back I was teaching a group of high school seniors. I was telling them what the next four years would be like, college. Lots of papers to write. Lots of chapters to read. I stacked up a bunch of books, it was massive. I told them this is what they will have to read in college. Their eyes got huge. They couldn’t believe it. No one had told them that. But then, I lowered the stack to about 3 books and told them this is what they would go through the first semester. As we talked about each semester, the stack grew. By the last semester, we had the tall stack of books again. I got them to see that it’s the little goals, little steps, little choices that will add up to a great achievement. The same is for us spiritually.
How many hours of Bible classes do you suppose you have attended since you became a Christian? For most, it is more than what is required to receive a PhD. Have you ever looked at it that way? What a milestone that is. How many times do you think you have asked God to forgive you? A hundred? A thousand? A million? And, He never tires or says you have reached your limit.
I think we often beat ourselves up because we are not doing enough, are strong enough or are where we think we should be. But look at how far we have come. It’s good once in awhile to tap the brakes and to look at what we have accomplished and how far we have come. Now, in doing this, don’t let this go to your head. Don’t be thinking that you are a superstar or that you’ve done all that you need to do. Those thoughts will ruin you. Thinking about how far you have come, ought to make you thankful to God for abilities He has given you, and people He has put in your life that have helped you and for opportunities that have allowed you to do what you could do.
And I am thankful for you our readers. If you weren’t reading Jump Starts, I wouldn’t be writing them. Thank you for the kind comments, for the helpful suggestions, and for sharing your story with me. I hope through this Jump Start journey, that God has been pleased and honored. Will there be another 2200? I can’t think about that. I just hope I get an idea by tomorrow morning!