The Little Space Rover That Could

Nearly twelve years ago, the NASA space rover, Opportunity, landed on Mars for a mission designed to last three months.

Now, almost a dozen years later the little six-wheeled critter is still poking around the rocky Martian landscape.

Little by little it has covered 26 miles, more than any machine has ever done on another celestial body. It has sent back 200,000 pictures of Mars.

Can you imagine twelve years of, “beep, beep, beep. Clunk!” (It bumps into a rock and repositions itself)? Beep, beep, beep, beep. Clunk!” Rock. Reposition.

It’s starting to have a problem with its flash memory drive. I wonder if bumping into rocks might play a role in the problem. That will do it.

The bottom line, though, is this: if you want to talk about exceeding expectations, you can start with this little machine. NASA may shut it down in 2016 if they can’t repair the memory problem (hey guys, if you find a answer, let me know, huh? I could use a solution to this problem, too.)

NASA must decide whether to invest in more up-to-date technology that is more precise and that can do things the faithful little space rover can’t.

No problem. Everything and everybody has to move off the scene eventually.

But, still … twelve years instead of three months!

That’s what I want to be like.

I want God to be happy with his investment to me. I don’t ever want to quit doing my best for Him.

One of my first bosses in missions was Charles Greenaway. He was a delightful preacher who had worked in Africa and Belgium before becoming the leader of the missionaries of a large region.

He tells the story of his conversion to Christ. He was a fighter who came from a rough home situation. His mom had nearly sent him to the orphanage when he was a child because she couldn’t take care of her large family alone.

At the last minute, she couldn’t bring herself to do it and simply said to her child, “We’re going to make it.” That was his life’s motto: “We’re gonna make it.”

He came to the Lord at twelve years of age, going forward to answer an invitation to give his life to the Lord Jesus in revival meetings one night.

The next night when he came back to the services he said he sat behind two gossipy old ladies who evidently hadn’t noticed his presence.

One had missed the opening meeting. Greenaway heard the other one update her on the service of the night before. Hadn’t been much, according to her. Only one person answered the appeal, that Greenaway boy.

And according to her, that conversion was a bit suspect. Her idea was, knowing young Charles, it probably wouldn’t stick.

Greenaway said, “I decided right then that I was going to serve God and hang in there, if only to spite those old ladies!”

I’m sure that wasn’t his main motivation but he made it, giving a long, fruit-filled life, filled with adventure, to serving the Lord.

That’s what I want to be like.

Jesus spoke once to a Church like that: the Church in Thyatira. Oh, this church had some problems, but still, what a church! They should have called it the Opportunity Church or the Charles Greenaway Memorial Church.

This is what the Lord said about them, “Write this to the angel of the church in the city of Thyatira: ‘The Son of God Who has eyes like fire and Whose feet are like shining brass, says this: I know what you are doing. I know of your love and faith. I know how you have worked and how you have waited long and have not given up. I know that you are working harder now than you did at first.” (Rev. 2: 18, 19 NLB)

They weren’t trying to earn their salvation by working and doing good things. They were just so saved that their heart pumped with desire to please the Lord.

They weren’t like the Ephesians whose love for the Lord and others had hardened into near-death spiritually. Their love, their faith, their service, and their hang-in-there-edness (a new word), were blazing higher and higher.

Instead of petering out they were getting stronger and stronger. Don’t know if they were having any flash memory problems but this was a church that didn’t quit. They gave more than the strict minimum. They far exceeded expectations.

Like Paul told the Thessalonians, “As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” (1 Thessa. 4:11)

And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more …” (1 Thessa. 4:10, NIv)

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.” (2 Thessa. 1:3, NIV)…

That’s the kind of son I want to be for my heavenly Father. A “more and more,” Christian. Yes!

And you?

Talk back to me: what do you think is the biggest obstacle that keeps Christians from going all the way for the Lord?

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