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Get the Ball Rolling

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Owning pets and guiding kids in taking care of them can teach valuable life lessons. At least that’s what my mom told me when I was a kid and it was time to clean my gerbils’ cage.

We normally had 1 or 2 gerbils at a time when I was a preteen. They were very entertaining to watch because they were usually very active. I especially enjoyed building little tube mazes for them to run around in. Fortunately, every time the cage and tubes got clean, I got to construct new layouts. Unfortunately, I was the one doing the cleaning.

There was one other positive aspect of that process, though. Cage-cleaning day also meant ball-racing day. Since the gerbils had to go somewhere while their home, toys, and tunnels were scrubbed and dried, they were put in plastic balls. They then had the freedom to roll all around the living room, dining room, kitchen, and into any other room whose door I neglected to close.

Watching a gerbil (or any other rodent) race across a floor in a little ball is one of the funniest things to see as a kid. They stand on their back legs, sniffing or grooming, then all of a sudden, they start to run and the ball takes off. One of the reasons I liked having two gerbils is seeing their different personalities come out. Some gerbils slowed down before they hit anything, others crashed full-speed into whatever they were racing toward. I say “racing toward,” but they really did not put much thought into their direction.

Perhaps we are like that sometimes also. But the same cannot be said of Jesus during His earthly ministry. He was purposeful and proactive in where He went and what He did. Two very clear directional statements are found in Luke:

As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. (Luke 9:51 NLT)
Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he went, always pressing on toward Jerusalem. (Luke 13:22)

Heaven was the destination, but before that endpoint could be reached, Jesus had a very specific route to take. It’s remarkable and inspiring who Jesus ministered to, what He taught, and how He loved, but He had a “where” in mind as well: Jerusalem. And beyond Jerusalem: a crucifixion at Golgotha, a resurrection in a garden, and finally an ascension near Bethany.

Take a look through Luke’s other book, too. Acts is practically cluttered with place names! Clearly it was important to Luke—and ultimately to the Spirit who inspired him—to record the direction the Gospel advanced.

Where a gerbil rolls in a ball literally has very little impact. Even if it crashes against something, the odds of something momentous happening are as small as the creature itself.

May the same not be true of us! May our impact for good be felt by those around us. Wherever we are, we observe means by which we can connect to others (see how Paul did this in Acts 17:22-23). We pray for those around us and apart from us. We advance the Gospel purposefully and proactively.


Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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About The Author

Ben Ledger

Ben has worked at CBN since 2014. He's the sort who will watch historical or geographical videos just for fun. He especially enjoys outdoor activities with his wife and three young boys.

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