Six years ago I asked myself this question, and a whole series of questions about who I was and where I was going. I was on the cusp of my 40th birthday and I was ready to enter that next phase of life. Whatever that meant! Ready to change states. Ready to change jobs. Ready to pick up my family and move…somewhere else.
I was wondering about the purpose to my journey following a guy named Jesus. I had been a missionary. A self-funded, non-commissioned and independent missionary. Actually, I just wanted to live the life I knew Jesus wanted me to. Surely this Christianity thing is able to be lived in the world I was a part of. I really didn’t want the labels, but it helped me explain to people why I left Brisbane with my wife and 2 kids (with one on the way!). It led me to Alice Springs for four years and then eventually led me to the Sunshine Coast.
Six years later I find myself looking in the mirror again at my life. Still teaching secondary students, taking a pay cut to have a “year off’ from a position of leadership, cruising through each school day. Yet, loving every minute of the life I am fortunate enough to lead. I feel I have a smile on my face again. Loving my wife, loving spending time with my sons.
What does God require of me?
If, as a Christian, I fully accepted that God was in control of my life, gave me power to affect change in the world, what would I do? What should I do?
Who would I choose to influence?
Who would I choose to help?
The disciples saw Jesus had power to affect change. They said they were ready to die for Him. They saw lives changed, transformed, healed.
The disciples were following a guy who was saying some pretty crazy things. He was who he said he was, or he was a lunatic. I remember reading what Bono (lead singer of the band U2) had to say about Jesus:
So what you're left with is
So what you're left with is: either Christ was who He said He was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase. I mean, we're talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson… This man was strapping himself to a bomb, and had "King of the Jews" on his head, and, as they were putting him up on the Cross, was going: OK, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I'm not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilisation for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that's farfetched …
If only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed. …When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my @#$% and everybody else's. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was He just a religious nut? And there it is, and that's the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.
Some of them felt that Jesus was ready to help them take up arms and defeat those who oppressed them.
Some of them were ready to see Jesus become the ruler of Jerusalem or Rome. They were ready to be the ones with the political power and influence.
Some of them were ready to rid the world of corruption, immorality and bring God’s judgment onto the world.
They were ready to become the judge and jury. They had been “out” for so long; now they were “in”. They now could have the “power” and “influence” to decide who was “out” and who was “in.”
What have “Christians” done throughout history when they have believed God has given them this power? What good have they done? What evil have they perpetrated?
Yet, Jesus didn’t tell them to have the ear of the authorities and influence those with the power. He didn’t tell them to “vote” against Roman rule and take up arms. He didn’t tell them to find positions of power in the Roman world to affect change. He didn’t tell them to rid the world of those who disagreed with their moral stance, their “Christian” culture or their way of life. He didn’t tell them to let the world know who was going to hell and who wasn’t.
He told them to:
Be a servant
Take the log out of your own eye before you take the speck out of someone else’s.
He said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it for me.”
He left us with two “rules”:
What would happen to this world if every morning Russell Modlin arose from his slumber and chose each day to “Love God” and “Love Others”?
What would I see?
Who would I see?
Where would I go?
What would Russell do?
Russell Modlin teaches English and Physical Education at a Christian School on the Sunshine Coast. He is married to Belinda and they have three children.
Russell Modlin’s archive of previous article can be found at