The Man on the Moon

I have a particular interest in technology and the way human society has been shaped by it. Over the past few years, I have pursued this interest by reading several books and watching several documentary series on the race to the moon. Having been born in 1976, I was too young to witness anything more than the aftermath of this epic race between the United States and the Soviet Union, and maybe this is why it fascinates me so much. It was history unfolding in the world I was born into.

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Every film series eventually reaches its climax at the moment Neil Armstrong sets his foot on the moon’s surface. The sound track swells, the camera pans, and then Armstrong steps off the lunar module and utters his unforgettable words: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Recently, as I watched another dramatization of this event, I found myself thinking, “I wish I could be involved in something that significant.” Those astronauts and the vast team that supported them left their mark on history. Those men accomplished something unprecedented in human history, and they spent the rest of their lives basking in the fame of their accomplishments. Though forty-five years have passed, we continue to laud and honor them today. For a moment, I wanted to be able to leave behind that kind of legacy.

But very quickly I caught myself. I thought about the sweep of history and all the great moments and inventions, and I realized that even an accomplishment as grand as the space race will disappear into the annals of history. Someday Neil Armstrong will be as significant to history as the inventor of the plow or the first man or woman to shoot an arrow from a bow. These, too, were important historical moments that forever changed the world, but the people involved have long since faded away and been forgotten.

And then I thought of one of the great and enduring privileges that is mine as a Christian. I have the honor and the duty to preach the gospel and to call upon other people to hear it and to heed it. I am able to stand between God and a person He has created and to tell him about the One who made him and the One who can save him. And sometimes that person responds in repentance and faith. Sometimes he is given ears to hear the words, eyes to see the Savior, and a heart to believe and obey.

And this—preaching the gospel and seeing another person transformed by God’s power—this is something that will endure through the ages because human beings will endure through the ages. We’re created for eternity. This accomplishment by God and for God will endure through all eternity—even after the greatest of human accomplishments have faded away.

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