Satellites and Discipleship
Today, a satellite was involved in your life. Whether you streamed TV, checked a weather report or used navigation in your car… all of this is made possible by automated spacecrafts hundreds of miles above your head. We often don’t stop to think about these important satellites to carry on the business of the day. In fact, when was the last time you thanked a satellite? Try it. Next time you get off the phone or use your GPS or binge watch on Netflix, give a shoutout to a satellite.
Satellites need to maintain orbital velocity to achieve balance between gravity’s pull. If it goes too slow, it will plummet to the earth and disrupt World Cup matches. Likewise if the satellite goes too fast, it will fly off course and be lost in space. There needs to be a constant inertia of motion at the speed of 17,600 per hour with the average satellite lifespan of 10-20 years. Satellites don’t go any faster or slower. They do their job with consistent inertia.
This reminds me of the perfect timing of our Lord.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient . . .” (2 Pet. 3:9). One of the most freeing discoveries that I’ve made in ministry is that God builds his church in his time. It’s pointless to run ahead of God. We’re always better off to discover God’s schedule and work within it rather than trying to impose ours upon him. Even if I want my rocket speeding at 25,000 mph, God gives me a “slow” satellite at 17,600 mph as He knows what speed will carry me right off course..
I believe Jesus fully understood God’s timing when he said, “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4). Jesus passionately prayed these words as He approached the conclusion of His earthly ministry. Jesus understood the key to His “orbital inertia” was by knowing WHO gets the glory, WHO sets the finish line and WHO gives the assignments. It was the work the Father gave Jesus to do, to reflect glory back to the Father and not to Himself. This set the Father’s work in proper motion.
Wayne Schmidt in his book, Ministry Velocity, speaks to this and sums up three key areas for work balance. He suggests intimacy, intensity and intentionality as key ingredients to maintain ministry velocity…
- Intimacy: Any lasting fruitfulness is inseparable from being linked to the Vine (John 15:5). As we discern what God is doing and join him in it, we are empowered for service. Fruitfulness and following go hand in hand.
- Intensity: At times, we need to pour out the passion; at other times, we need to exhibit patience. The scriptural pattern of initiating and resting is as old as creation.
- Intentionality: God’s greatest work is often the accumulation of little things done faithfully that open the door to more expansive opportunity (Luke 16:10).
Together, let’s keep our orbital inertia by fixing our eyes on Jesus, so we can finish the work He has entrusted us to complete.
By Josh Yates of Sonlife