Yesterday, I received news one of my former personal training clients went to be with Jesus. She was a college student, and I trained her when she was in high school. Jordan was very introspective & inquisitive. Our PT sessions were often as mentally intensive as they were physically intensive.
One day, Jordan sent me a text and said she needed to talk. We made meet at Starbucks. Her mom & twin sister dropped her off, and left to run some errands. I could see the urgency in her mom’s eyes when she dropped Jordan off.
Pretty quickly into our conversation, I could see where this was going:
Jordan did not have a personal relationship with Jesus.
She knew of Him and His sacrifice for her. She went to church. She attended Christian school. She’d even watched her twin sister accept Christ as her Savior and get baptized a few years before. But Jordan had never actually made the decision to accept Him into her heart as her personal Savior.
I don’t think her hesitancy was that she desired to live without Christ. But as deep a thinker as Jordan was, she knew this was the biggest decision she would ever make. And she needed to make sure she wasn’t just ready to pray a prayer.
She needed to make sure she was ready to pick up her cross daily and follow after Him.
I answered a few more of her questions, and finally, Jordan decided she was ready. We texted her mom & twin to come back. There, at Starbucks, the four of us bowed our heads and cried as Jordan whispered a prayer to Jesus. It went something like this:
God, I know that I am a sinner. I know You sent Jesus to earth, that He died a terrible death that should have been mine on the cross, and that He rose from the grave three days later and is now seated at the right hand of the Father, waiting for Your command to return for us. Please forgive me for all the ways I have failed you, but thank you for sending Jesus to wash me clean from those sins. Come into my life, Lord Jesus, as my personal Lord and Savior. Help me to follow You and grow closer to You each day. I love you. Amen.
And that she did. Despite health complications. Despite surgeries. Jordan lived for Him daily.
I don’t tell you this story to praise myself. Far from it. I didn’t save Jordan. Jesus saved Jordan.
But yesterday was a great wake-up call to remind me what really matters. I know I don’t always get it right. I know my focus isn’t always on heavenly things. But thank you, Jesus, that You allowed me to get it right with her.
I often talk to leaders in ministry who find it frustrating that their ministry isn’t “taking off” or “reaching more people.” They find themselves wanting to throw in the towel and questioning, “Is it worth it?”
Because here’s my truth: If all that I ever accomplish in ministry was having that conversation with Jordan, it was worth it.
It was worth it for the fact that she’s dancing with Jesus right now, pain-free.
It was worth it for the fact that her family, though mourning, can have peace.
It was worth it for the one.
It’s too easy to think that even in ministry, the masses are all that matter.
But that’s not how Jesus lived. Jesus spoke to crowds, yes. But He always made time for the one. He didn’t put less energy, effort or focus on those moments.
Think about Zaccheus (Luke 19, if you need to refresh your memory). There was a huge crowd in Jericho that had gathered to see Jesus. Being small, Zaccheus couldn’t see over the crowd, so he climbed up in a tree, just to get a glimpse of Jesus walking by.
As he passed the tree, Jesus looked up and said, “Zaccheus, come down, for today, I must stay at your house.”
Jesus drowned out the crowd to see the one.
Zaccheus turned from his sinful ways, gave half of his possessions to the poor, and paid back money he had stolen from others times four. He confessed faith in Jesus, and he was saved.
But let me blow your mind a little more. I heard this story countless times as a kid, and I never understood this part until I was an adult. Jesus was coming through Jericho on his journey to Jerusalem. His last trip to Jerusalem.
That’s right. Jesus was intentional to reach Zaccheus on the road to be crucified.
So whether you feel like you’re a leader in ministry or not, if you’re a Christian, we have been given the same responsibility.
I’ll just say it – as Christians, we would do a much better job of getting the message of Jesus out if we took our one-by-one opportunities as seriously as we hope those preaching to multitudes handle the Gospel.
By the way, there’s no finger-pointing involved in this, except for the one pointing at me. I know I can get sucked into the world of likes, double taps, hearts, crowds, and masses as much as anyone.
But accepting that behavior from myself ended yesterday.
My sweet friend Kelly Wendorff simply put it this way, “Souls over goals.”
Let’s not forget that in living like Jesus, Jesus came for all, but He also came for the one. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
Souls over goals, friends.
The one is just as important as the crowd.
Eternity matters for all, yes, but it does not matter less for the one.
Let’s give our all for the one today. And every day after.
Would you post your commitment in the comments below? I’d love to be able to show Jordan’s family what an impact her story has made.