Meaning. Purpose. There is only one timeline against which our worth must be measured – against the perspective of eternity. Does what we do have eternal consequence?
I believe that many people will live a life of very little meaning — and I don’t want you to be counted in that number. God wants something out of your life.
In eternity, two things remain from this life until the next: The Word of God. And the soul of man.
Will we live a life which impacts souls for eternity? That is a life of meaning. That is a life on mission.
We just lost a man who lived on mission, Joseph Chean.
Joseph had three great passions in ministry: missions, creativity and youth.
- Missions. We all know about his passion for missions.
- Creativity. In his earlier years, he pioneered dance and creative arts ministries.
- Youth. His passion for youth was the theme that ran through all of his ministry.
He started as a Youth Pastor, and a chaplain in St Andrew’s. Even in his missions years, he served with Youth With A Mission.
I thought it was important we speak about him tonight, at this youth gathering. You’re young. You’re youth. You were one of his great passions.
Missions. Creativity. Youth.
Knowing him, he would combine all the passions. Get youth to do missions in the most creative ways possible. Get involved in the nations and use your creativity to save as many souls as possible.
That was Joseph Chean. Now he has fought the good fight, he’s run his race.
Here’s the thing about that verse from 2 Timothy 4:7. That race? It’s neither a marathon nor a sprint. It’s a relay.
In a marathon or a sprint, you run, you hit the finish line, and that’s it.
In a relay, someone runs their race, then they pass the baton, then we take the baton, and we run our race, before we pass the baton.
Joseph has run his leg of the relay race. Up next is you. Up next is us.
He’s run his race, we are still on our race. Will you take the baton and run with it?
Joseph Chean’s last big project was Antioch 21. Of course, broadly, it was about mobilising for missions, the Gospel to the nations.
But one key pillar of Antioch 21 – it’s about the next generation.
It’s about awakening youth and young adults that now is the time to bring the Gospel to the nations.
Now is the time to take up the baton and proclaim the name of Jesus far and wide to Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the Earth.
He wanted you – the youth – to pick up the baton.
He didn’t just head an organisation called Youth With A Mission, he believed in the name.
Youth with a mission. That’s you. Will you take the baton? That baton is the Great Commission. That baton is the difficult but necessary work of evangelism. That baton is making disciples who will themselves be disciplemakers.
That baton is evangelism, the proclamation, in Singapore and to the nations.
I knew Joseph Chean well. From my interactions with him, if I were to put one defining characteristic to him, it would be this: Absolute compliance to God.
He was absolutely tender-hearted toward God. God gave him crazy dreams, crazy visions. He didn’t say, God you siao ah? Do you know what it would cost me? No one else is doing it, I would look foolish doing it.
No. He said, God, I would be the crazy one not to follow you.
It can’t be more than a month ago when I asked him: Joseph, how long are you going to be doing Antioch 21? How long will you stay in missions? Do you have a retirement age in mind?
He said, no, I won’t stop. I am on assignment until my dying breath.
On one of his last sermons just last month – you can find it on YouTube – he said this: On my tombstone, I want to be known as a man who lived my life for the glory of God.
Why was Joseph Chean talking about his tombstone? I don’t know. Why was he talking to me about his dying breath? I don’t know.
But that day has come, he has run the race, and he is passing the baton.
Youth – take up that baton.
Having a Joseph Chean around is amazing! But how much more amazing would it be to have a generation of Joseph Cheans!
Those who are crazy for Jesus! Those who would live for Jesus, and those who would die for Jesus! Those who will live to spread the Gospel to the nations, and those who may even die among those nations.
God doesn’t need one Joseph Chean. Joseph himself would not care for your admiration or adulation – he would call for your action. Respond. Take up the baton.
Not all of us are called to the nations. Not all of us have as crazy, far-out dreams and visions as Joseph. But I believe that God has a bigger calling for you and your life – not to live a meaningless life, not to live a life that counts for nothing.
If you are 13, 15, 18, 21 – you have 60, 70, 80 more years to run that race.
Imagine the dreams that God can achieve through you. Imagine the lives, the souls that God is going to impact through you.
Imagine the nations that will be won – maybe not individually through you, but by this generation, all of us, joining hands, and saying: God, we’re going to do this for you. Nothing is too crazy if it’s a God-Dream, a God-Word.
Youth – how many of you want to live a life that counts?
How many of you want to live a life where in eternity, when the Book of Judgment is opened and we have to give an account of our lives, something there matters, something there counts?
Let the things you’re going to do for Jesus – the places you’re going to go for Jesus – have echoes into eternity.