When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. 2 There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6 So Jesus went with them.
He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.
– Luke 7:1-10
Rich Stearns is the president of World Vision, and he just released a book entitled Unfinished, Believing is Only the Beginning. Rich came to believe while in college. In Stearns’ own words, here is how it unfolded: “When I was in college I thought I had all the answers. I considered myself to be an intellectual. I thought that believing in God was a crutch for those who struggled with life. But then I met a young woman, by the name of Renee, who was a true believer. She was fully committed to Jesus and she challenged me to consider the evidence.” At the time, Stearns was a science major; therefore, he looked at everything through the lens of science.
Either something was true, or it was not. If Christianity is true, he surmised, then it’s a big deal!
At that point, he set out to determine whether or not Christianity had a leg on which to stand. He began reading every book he could find that dealt not only with Christianity but also other religions of the world. He read book after book—books that compared world religions and books on apologetics by C. S. Lewis and John Stott. All in all, he read over 50 books and came to this conclusion: “If Jesus Christ truly is the Son of God then He has to be everything in my life!”
One day shortly thereafter, Stearns decided to get on his knees and trust Jesus Christ as His Savior. As he put it: “Just like in a game of poker, I put all of the chips on the table. I was all in!” Stearns surrendered his life to Jesus, and he began this new life with great zeal; however, he would be the first to tell you that it took time for him to surrender everything totally to Jesus as his Lord.
After college, Stearns entered business school to get his MBA degree. While at the Wharton School of Business, he and Renee became engaged. Right away, Renee wanted to do what every young, engaged woman wants to do—register for crystal, china, and silver at a local department store. In his zeal, Stearns informed his fiancée: “As long as there are starving children in the world we are not going to spend our money on frivolous things like crystal, china and silver.” Now here is the irony about what he said. After Stearns earned his MBA, he entered the corporate world; twenty years later, he became CEO and president of Lenox, Inc. – the largest crystal, china, and silver company in America. God does have a sense of humor!
After they married, he and Renee set out to live their lives for Christ. First, they became very involved in church. Then they had five children, whom they took to church every Sunday. They also taught Sunday school. In other words, they became poster children for the Christian life. Then a situation arose that forced Stearns to put his walk behind his talk.
Stearns lived the American dream. Coming from a broken family plagued with financial instability, he graduated from two Ivy league schools. As the CEO of several corporations during his career, he was living the American dream with his bride Renee and their five children.
One day, Stearns received a call from an executive recruiter. The head hunter tried to persuade Stearns to throw his name into the hat for the position of president of World Vision, a wonderful ministry that he was already supporting financially, but Stearns did not want to let go of the American dream. He was not prepared for this intrusion into his otherwise comfortable life. Stearns told the recruiter: “I’m not qualified. I’m not interested. And I’m not available.” But the recruiter was relentless. Stearns tried to get off the phone because he knew this conversation was dangerous, and he had a lot to lose.
Just before hanging up, the recruiter posed a very important question: “Are you willing to be open to God’s will for your life?”
This is the question I would like you to consider. Are you willing to be open to God’s will for your life? A previous devotional series from Luke 5:1-11 was entitled Jesus Still Seeks Fishermen! Based on some of your responses, I know that devotional series caused a number of you to think. Luke chapter five records the call of Peter to become a follower of Jesus. Peter was asked to leave everything he had. Jesus challenged him to be “all in!” When Jesus had finished speaking to the crowd, he looked at Peter and said, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” I believe that is what the Lord wants each of us to be willing to do, to “Put out into deep water and cast our nets.” In order for us to be willing to put out into deep water, we must possess one very important trait, and it’s this trait that will truly amaze Jesus. What is this trait?
Would you like to know that, when Jesus looks at you, He is amazed by what He sees in you? In the coming weeks we will look at three individuals and one group of men, highlighted in the above text, in hopes that we will learn one truth from each of them. In the process, we will uncover the answer to this question, “What does it take to amaze Jesus?”
Do you want to amaze Jesus? Stay tuned.