My father, who recently passed away, was a dedicated patriot who served our country during the Korean War. He valued family, education and, later in life, his faith in Jesus Christ.
His life as a husband, father of three boys and high school teacher was defined by his commitment to various causes. When he became a Seventh-day Adventist, he was willing to sacrifice for the cause of Jesus Christ — who sets us free from sin, guilt and eternal death. Dad sacrificed until the end for the greatest cause in the whole world.
What cause have you committed to in your life? Both faith and business sector researchers have studies about people who are willing to sacrifice for a greater cause or a mission. Young adults especially get excited about a cause. In fact, people of all ages get excited about a cause.
People follow vision and mission. It's not always charismatic leaders who drive these movements, but often those who stay focused on the mission's core values and objectives.
My father's love for history led me to revisit the Gettysburg Address, delivered by Abraham Lincoln on Nov. 19, 1863. In it, Lincoln invoked the word "cause" to call people to continue the unfinished work of preserving freedom and a government of, by and for the people.
Lincoln reminded those present, and in the future, the importance of dedicating themselves to continuing and finishing the cause of freedom for all people.
Similarly, the Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures call us to daily dedicate ourselves to the cause of Jesus Christ — to seek to save the lost and dedicate ourselves to the mission of the Adventist Church.
What cause is driving your life? Is it the cause of position, power, money, sports, fame, etc. If so, are you willing to rededicate your life to Jesus Christ and His cause to seek and save the lost?
As Adventists, we recognize the spiritual battle known as the Great Controversy. In this world, it's not about political divides or worldly concerns.
The Apostle Paul tells us it is not what we can see that is important, but what we cannot see. What is most important is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals all truth to the believers of Jesus.
What’s most important is who Jesus is and what people understand about Jesus. Do people see Jesus in us? Do we represent Jesus in our speech, thoughts and actions? Do people know that Jesus is returning — and soon?
Consider the story of James White, who followed the Holy Spirit's guidance to share the message of Christ with those he encountered. His journey began with a single step when one day, as his conscience agitated him, he set off on a walk.
As he passed by a cottage, the Holy Spirit said, “Stop here.”
He tried to walk past, but the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let him. James tried to think of an excuse to knock. The Holy Spirit prompted him, “Why not ask for a drink of water?”
He knocked on the door and was greeted by a grieving man who had just lost his only son and questioned the existence of God.
“I cannot see past the tomb,” he sobbed. “Is there a God? I am not a Christian and my burden is more than I can bear.”
Through James's guidance, the man found faith and joy.
The next morning, when James started walking again, the same impression happened just two miles down the road. He knocked on the next door to again ask for water. To his surprise, a former student answered the door.
“Oh, Mr. White!” she exclaimed. “Are you a Christian? We have all been under conviction that Christ is coming soon.”
The girl seated James in the parlor, then hurried around the neighborhood calling friends, neighbors and fellow students. In less than 30 minutes, the house was full of people wanting to know Jesus. He left that village transformed, and more revival and reformation followed.
James went on at the ripe old age of 21 to become a traveling preacher. His life, preserved in The Autobiography of James White, is a fascinating story of leadership development in the Adventist Church. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, he passionately adopted the cause to proclaim Christ's soon return.
The work of taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ — in the context of the Three Angels’ Messages — to our families, neighbors, co-workers, friends, communities, nation and the world is not finished. There is still work to do to move the cause of Jesus forward.
This Thanksgiving and Christmas season, regardless of your age, I invite you to dedicate or rededicate your life to the cause of reaching and teaching others about our loving Savior, Jesus Christ.