Here’s what works for God, Rasmussen tells Chapel
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
So you want to be a star?
Are you sure?
And is that what God wants … or expects?
How about just doing God’s work as best you can, wherever He puts you?
Jamie Rasmussen posed those questions in the form of a story during his Chapel talk Monday morning at Grand Canyon University Arena. It’s the type of story that perhaps many of us have encountered again and again – maybe in our own dreams and expectations.
He told of how he once was one of 15 students in an internship program at Willow Creek Community Church, a massive congregation in Chicago, and would listen to his peers talk about the amazing things they were going to do in their careers. They weren’t just going to replicate Willow Creek. They were going to build something far bigger.
Rasmussen’s goals weren’t nearly as lofty, but today he’s the senior pastor of Scottsdale Bible Church. That’s a big congregation, though not as massive as the dreams of the other interns. And when he looked up those people who were interns along with him at Willow Creek, he learned that not a single one of them had achieved what they set out to do.
That’s why he said this:
“Most of us are never going to experience the kind of success that we see in the absolute top echelons of the industries around us, but that doesn’t mean at all that we’re not successful. In fact, it might mean the opposite. It means that we’re just going to have to work really hard, stay in our lane, run as fast as we can in our lane, do our best under God, ask for His grace as we do it, and then accept from His hand how He blesses us, whether we ever attain these huge, lofty goals or not.”
Rasmussen laid out statistics that demonstrate how hard it is to achieve greatness. In any given year, he said, there are 5 million kids under age 18 playing football. About 50,000 of them will go on to play in college, and a mere 500 or so will ever play a single down in the National Football League.
Five hundred out of five million.
That’s .01 percent.
The next part of his next message was contained in the autobiography of President Theodore Roosevelt, who said there are two types of people.
The first group includes the ones who are so naturally gifted, they’re going to be successful – almost no matter how hard they try. They can do things that most of us can only dream about.
“No amount of training of body or mind would enable any, good ordinary man to perform any of these feats,” Roosevelt wrote. “This is the most striking kind of success, and it can only be attained by the man who has in him the quality which separates him in kind and degree from his fellow man.”
And then there are the rest of us – including people who get as much out of their stick-to-it-iveness as they do out of their talent. Again, here are Roosevelt’s words:
“But the much more commoner (sic) type of success is that which comes to the man who differs from his fellows not by the kind of quality which he possesses, but by the degree of development which he has given his qualities. This kind of success is open to a large number of persons if only they seriously determine to achieve it. It’s the kind of success open to the average man who gets just as much as possible in the way of work out of his aptitudes as he does of possessing them. It is this kind of success that is open to most of us.”
Roosevelt put himself in the latter category.
It’s a secular message, but “the Bible nails it,” Rasmussen said, in 1 Corinthians 15:10, where Paul wrote:
“… By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them — yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”
Those probably-out-of-reach goals only create unrealistic expectations, Rasmussen said. They lead to things like one of his former fellow interns calling himself a “divine nobody” because he didn’t build something incredible.
Rasmussen closed by telling the students in the audience:
“Whatever success you achieve, whatever success God leads you in, will be the result of His grace and a tremendous amount of hard work. It’s going to come because you worked harder than the rest – and yet not you, God working through you if you’re humble at all to admit that.
“… I wish you all the success in the world. I really do. But even more, I wish upon you hard work – real hard work. I hope you learn to experience in your life what one of my mentors calls a good tired, that at the end of the day when you’re exhausted from all your hard work and you go home to see your wife or your husband or whatever your lot in life is, that you can feel good about what you did.
“Leave the results in God’s hands, but my guess is that if you work hard, He’s going to give you that success. And if you work hard, you’re probably even going to get one of those famous, ‘Well done, good and faithful servants,’ when you finally go to see God face to face.”
● Chapel replay.
● Next week: No Chapel (spring break).
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.