Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2017
Texts: Luke 15:4-7, 11-32; Luke 16:19-31; 18:35-43; 19:1-10
He’s living the dream. Flipping on the lights of his police cruiser, 50-year-old Jim Abelis clocks the driver doing 33 mph in a 20-mph zone. When Jim asks the driver to step out for a sobriety test, the pungent odor of alcohol is apparent. The driver protests that he hasn’t been drinking, but then confesses to just one drink. By the time Jim arrests him for drunk driving, his passenger readily admits to his night of partying.
“It might sound corny,” says Jim, “but it’s really about making a difference for me.” At the age of 47, Jim left his six-figure CEO salary at the software firm he founded to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a cop. This year he was named Oregon State’s top intoxicated driving enforcement officer—making 65 arrests in 12 months. “I really felt like doing something to have a positive impact,” he says. “It’s so satisfying.”
His family and friends weren’t so sure about this career move. Jim was “the last person I would have thought wanted to be a cop,” his wife said. He had never fired a gun in his life. His business partner remarked, “At first, seeing Jim out there made me think he was wearing a costume.” But after watching Jim easily keep a woman he was arresting in good spirits, his friend said, “Seeing him in the field eventually made sense. He was the same Jim, doing a different job.”
Jim Abelis, a man with a mission, is living his dream to make a difference by keeping people from killing themselves on our highways.1
Our Sabbath School lesson this week is about the mission of Jesus: The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). Talk about making a difference! Because of Jesus’ mission, everyone who has ever lived has the chance to live forever. Jesus’ mission is to search the four corners of the earth for lost souls to save. Jesus’ mission is to make a difference by keeping people from killing themselves eternally. Jesus’ mission is to get as many people into heaven as possible—using any and every means possible. I think that Jesus would echo Jim’s thought: “It’s so satisfying!”
Jim tells his drunken detainee that he’s lucky he didn’t kill himself or someone else. Jesus tells us that there is a joyful party in heaven when just one of us lost souls is found and redeemed (Luke 15:7,10,32).
Our lesson adds this quote that asks the question: “The value of a soul, who can estimate?” (COL p.196). Jim’s mission is driven by the value of a human life. Jesus’ mission is driven by the value of a human soul. What is your mission, and what drives it?
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