All The Way In

July, early evening in Southern California. The afternoon temperature climbed to the low 80’s in small town Vista. Later, palm leaves rustled in a light breeze while twilight pink and costal clouds approached. But I, along with almost 500 million other people, ignored weather, time, food, and even an upcoming date. A fuzzy black and white image seized our attention.

Neil Armstrong takes man's first step on the Moon

Neil Armstrong takes man’s first step on the Moon

On 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong hopped-stepped down a short ladder fastened to the side of the Lunar Module. He hesitated a moment on a wide, round pad then stepped out to become the first human to walk on the Moon. His crew mate, Buzz Aldrin followed minutes later. They spent almost a day there, rendezvoused with Michael Collins who remained in lunar orbit, then returned to Earth.

Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the Moon a few minutes later

Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the Moon a few minutes later

And it looked simple enough. Three guys flew from Earth to the Moon. Two went down, looked around, picked up 50 pounds of rocks while the third kept an eye on the car. When finished, they came home. Not immediately apparent, however, was the rest of the story.

NASA mission controllers celebrate

NASA flight controllers celebrate culmination of their life investments

Propelled by visions of traveling to the stars, thousands of men and women committed time, money, talent, their life’s energy and essence to sending three guys to the Moon and bringing them home alive. They invested millions of hours, thousands of days. Not just 9 to 5 type days with weekends off, but 12, 16, 18-hour+ days. Jostling, pushing, eager for more, hungry for any part in the great drama, they sacrificed anything and everything day after day after day for years. Their total commitment made the difference between winning and also-ran. Worth it? For the goal of sending people off planet, you bet.

A few days ago that July evening snapped back, sharper than a ‘like-it-was-yesterday’ memory. My pastor wrote on Facebook, “I think it’s possible to do our jobs and our labor but not give ourselves while doing it. Technically everything is great on the surface… But the greatest thing we can give is ourselves in our labors as unto the Lord. I think that is the sweet spot of life and ministry”

Made me wonder. How much of my life do I fly by, observing from afar, but never landing? The Apollo folks got to the Moon by infusing themselves into their calling. Is my life purpose a less worthy goal? No! After all, the same one who fashioned the Moon, created me, created all of us—complete with purpose and plan.


Leaping off the deep end, laughing all the way in

The trick to achieving the purpose? Cooperate with the plan. Call it commitment. Call it being fully present. Call it total investment into the family business. God gives us skill and vision, then asks us to give it away, so he can give us more, so we can give it away, so he can give us more … Participation requires only one decision—we’re all in, or we’re out. No splits. No compromises. No contingencies. No looking back. No options, except a running leap off the deep end, hooting, hollering, waving arms and laughing all the way in.

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2 thoughts on “All The Way In”

  1. Hi Jim,
    When Debbie got back from Spokane, she mentioned that you were dipping into the inkwell. Good for you! I enjoyed this post. It makes me want to dive in. Head first!

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