My family recently discovered an older science-fiction television series (yes, we are nerds).  During one episode, a familiar scene unfolded as the main character was faced with a choice to sacrifice himself to save another. In this instance, however, the one facing death was a relatively unknown old man.  The main character could leave the older man and continue saving galaxies or he could give it all up for one seemingly insignificant person. The hero pauses and painfully deliberates as he lifts his head up and shouts, “I could do so much more. So much more!”[1]  He briefly bemoans the unfairness of the situation, but quickly realizes what must be done. *Spoiler alert* he frees the older man and graciously sacrifices himself.  Why? Because what he will do for the one, defines who he is.

This scene was a bit striking because usually the hero dies saving the entire planet or someone who holds special significance, and you don’t often hear the main character express their frustration at the sacrifice they must make.  These sentiments seemed more familiar.  You are probably not out traveling through space and saving galaxies, but have you ever felt like this character?  Has God ever placed you in a situation or a season of ministry where you felt like you could be doing more?  Has He ever put someone in your path that seemed to interrupt important work?  Or have you had to make sacrifices that didn’t yield a big return or went unnoticed?  It can be extremely discouraging or maybe even seem like a waste.  Be encouraged!  We do not serve a God of waste.  Sometimes we just need a shift in perspective.                    

We can focus so much on doing great things for Christ that we neglect the call to become more like Christ.  Over and over we see Christ stopping and serving people society had deemed insignificant. From little children to a blind beggar, Jesus did not see these people as interruptions.  They became opportunities where Jesus revealed Who He was and God displayed His glory.  We are called to serve as He served (Philippians 2).  When we are seeking to grow more like Christ, interruptions become opportunities.   The person showing up to church to ask for help can be an opportunity to grow in kindness.  Your surly teenager stomping through the living room can be an opportunity to grow in patience.  Regardless of whether or not the person changes, your interaction with them is an opportunity to grow in His likeness.  It’s not only about what we are doing, but also who we are becoming. 

What about those seasons or times when we feel like we could be doing more?  Maybe those times when you see more empty seats than full in the sanctuary or when your days seem to consist solely of diaper changing, bottle feeding, and 147 rounds of Wheels on the Bus.  It can be lonely and maybe even frustrating.  God does not waste, but occasionally we need to adjust our perspective of success.  When we focus on faithfully following Him, we may find that we encounter the One as we serve the one that He has put before us.  We know that in serving them, we are really serving Him (Matthew 25:31-46).  Sometimes, in the quietness of rocking a tiny human back to sleep or in the solemnity of sitting bedside by an ailing friend, our hearts are still to hear from Him.  He sees and He is there.  It is often during these moments, where other distractions dissipate, that we can draw ever closer to God. Our success lies not in our results, but in our relationship with Him.      

When we think about serving the one, it can be tempting to think of ourselves as the hero in the story.  One more shift in perspective is needed.  We need to realize that we are not the hero, we are the one.  Each of us was the one in need.  Jesus sacrificed Himself and saved us. He is the Hero, not us.  We don’t have to deliberate if we are wasting our sacrifice, because we belong to Him.  Our time is His to “waste” as He sees fit.  He saved us and we serve Him.  What is He asking you to do for the one? 

[1] “End of Time.” Doctor Who, BBC, Written by Russel T. Davies, Directed by Euros Lyn, 2010.