The year was 1996. I went with a friend to a concert to see Rich Mullins perform. If you know much about his life, you know seeing him in concert was not much of a massive production as it was like sitting down with a friend who tells it like it is. Who also happens to be a great musician and songwriter.
Rich walks out on stage in old jeans and a plain white t-shirt. He had another musician with him. And he proceeded to play songs, share stories, and challenge those there to live in grace and give their life to His Kingdom.
Having read a bunch of books, watched a ton of videos and even watched the movie Ragamuffin about Rich, I feel like I have a small idea of who he was. He was funny. He questioned organized religion. He embraced grace. He was not afraid to stir the pudding to the comfortable. He had a calling to challenge the Christian in what that meant—to really follow Jesus.
That night he said something that hit me hard. Real hard. Hard enough that 20+ years later I still think about it. The Lord used his challenge that night to prompt me and give me a filter for my life. It was that good. I legit have goosebumps every time I tell this story.
He said this: “I think one day some will wash ashore the shores of Heaven and have their life all together, look nice and clean and talk about all they did for Him. And they will come face to face with Jesus and Scripture says that He might not even know you. You lived safe. You knew of Him, but didn’t really know Him. I know this, for those of us who really know and follow Him, when we land in Heaven we’ll be beat up, clothes tattered, and life bruised from the chaos of this world. But He’ll look at us and say “that’s mine right there.”
Read that again. Seriously. Read it again.
What a great image about what our life is about when it’s all said and done.
He shared a quote from Brennan Manning that night that says this “In love’s service, only wounded soldiers can serve.”
I remember driving home that night telling God that I did not want to land safely. I wanted my life to count. I wanted to serve Him knowing it was not going to be pretty or easy.
And it has not been. 20+ years later, those words still inspire me. I’m more beat up and have weathered quite a bit along the way. And my Savior has been so faithful in love and grace that I don’t deserve.
As I carry the message of THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE, I’ve been reminded of that night. I’m reminded that you never know how He might use some challenge and encouragement in your life and in the life of others. I never met Rich. Yet one night his words propelled my life and heart. I pray they do you too.
“So go out and live real good and I promise you’ll get beat up real bad. But, in a little while after you’re dead, you’ll be rotted away anyway. It’s not gonna matter if you have a few scars. It will matter if you didn’t live.”
– Rich Mullins