Building a better mousetrap

Somebody said “if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.”  Emerson was a bit more eloquent in phrasing the same idea. “If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson) 

There is no argument with the fact that productivity is valued, that developing real skill in whatever we do can bring success.  Patrick Mahomes, the Most Valuable Player of last night’s Super Bowl game, is an example of the admiration and value found in a person who excels.

Yet we ask (or at least, I ask) “Was I just born to scratch out a living, to build a bigger nest for myself, before I die?”  It may feel good to build better mousetraps, for a while, but soon the heart will ache for more. With time’s passing success loses some of its luster and we will yearn for significance.  

If our mission in life is shaped only by what we can own, or what we build, we will come to the same conclusion as Solomon, the old king turned cynic: “I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees.” (Ecclesiastes 2:4-6, NIV)  By any measure, he enjoyed success! Was it enough? Apparently not! “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2:11, NIV)

Truth is that God invites us into a Divine Conspiracy (not my phrase) to change the world. Perhaps that sounds grandiose to you. It is not. We are invited to become His own, to know His love, and to make Him known, even as we bring Light and Life into our corner of the world. Here is how Jesus said it. “Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37-38, NIV) “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7-8, NIV)   

Paul reminds us that this work does not find its power in human genius. Rather, he explains, when we trust Christ and are made alive in the Spirit, we are invested with ‘gifts’ of the Spirit that enable each one of us to be a part of the eternal work of God in our world. “God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you. If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching. If your gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have money, share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” (Romans 12:6-8, NLT)

Believe me when I say that helping those who are ‘dead’ to God find life in Jesus Christ and receive the Spirit, is an experience akin to becoming a parent. Few things in my life come close to the joy of having children, watching them grow, and now seeing them be wonderful and productive adults, each in their own right.

Pointing a person to Jesus and seeing them ‘raised to new life’ is a source of great joy as well.  Each of us, not just pastors, can share hope, encourage those in despair, shine brightly, and introduce others to the same grace we have found in Christ.  Daunting task? Yes, it is!  No eloquence required, however.  We shine brightest when we live the life that is proof of His “Kingdom Come!” 

This is the mission that makes life worthwhile and heaven anticipated with joy.  People around us need Jesus. We are messengers with a mission – to make it plain that God’s kingdom is here

Pastor Bert Montgomery says it like this: “Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit into his followers, yet too many of us haven’t realized it yet. We’re still in a dream of “unforgivenness.” Alas, we are unforgiving of the sins of the world, unforgiving of the sins of others, unforgiving of our own sins; therefore sins are retained, sins continue to control us. We live as though Jesus remains in the tomb. Jesus wants to wake us from the dream. Jesus wants us to “make a profession out of this consciousness.” To live in the resurrection, to live in the consciousness of God’s forgiveness of the whole world which God so loves.”

Yes, because He lives, I live as eternal being, reconciled to God, filled with hope, on a mission from God!  Today, pray a simple prayer – “Lord, open my eyes to the opportunities near me and send me.” 

Then, courageously follow Him.
Show love.
Offer hope.
Speak life.
Pray with and/or for that person who hurts.
Overcome evil with good.
Share Christ and lead someone to give himself to Jesus.

In those choices, you will find a new reason to be and joy of being a partner with God in saving the world, one life at a time.

Our word from the Word reminds us of the mission. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20, NIV) 
Let’s do it, for Christ’s sake!

(Video of this blog at this link)

CWTW will be back on 2/27/23.
Thanks for reading along!


Send Me

If it’s bandaging the broken or washing filthy feet
Here I am Lord send me
If it’s loving one another even when we don’t agree
Here I am Lord send me

If I’m poor or if I’m wealthy
I’ll serve You just the same
Here I am Lord send me
On the mountain or the valley
I will choose to praise
Here I am Lord send me

If I’m known by how I love let my life reflect
How much I love You I love You
And before You even ask oh my answer will be yes
‘Cause I love You I love You

If the truth cuts like an arrow I will say it anyway
‘Cause here I am Lord send me
If it’s means that they’ll reject me
Lord I will still obey
Here I am Lord send me

When I’m standing in Your glory
I’ll be glad I chose to say
Here I am Lord send me
Well done good and faithful I live to hear You say
Here I am Lord send me

Here I am Lord send me
Here I am Lord send me

Brandon Lake | Jenn Johnson | Kari Jobe
© 2020 Brandon Lake Music (Admin. by Bethel Music Publishing)
Brian and Jenn Publishing (Admin. by Bethel Music Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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