Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pioneer 10, the little satellite that could, illustrates the power of something small that continued to serve - Mark 10:45 with Pioneer 10's story, an observation and a prayer

SCRIPTURE: Mark 10:45
The Son of Man did not come to be saved, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

STORY: as told by Craig Brian Larson
In 1972, NASA launched the exploratory space probe Pioneer 10. According to Leon Jaroff in Time, the satellite's primary mission was to reach Jupiter, photograph the planet and its moons, and beam data to earth about Jupiter's magnetic field, radiation belts, and atmosphere. Scientists regarded this as a bold plan, for at that time no earth satellite had ever gone beyond Mars, and they feared the asteroid belt would destroy the satellite before it could reach its target. But Pioneer 10 accomplished its mission and much, much more. Swinging past the giant planet in November 1973, Jupiter's immense gravity hurled Pioneer 10 at a higher rate of speed toward the edge of the solar system. At one billion miles from the sun, Pioneer 10 passed Saturn. At some two billion miles, it hurtled past Uranus; Neptune at nearly three billion miles; Pluto at almost four billion miles. By 1997, twenty-five years after its launch, Pioneer 10 was more than six billion miles from the sun.

And despite that immense distance, Pioneer 10 continued to beam back radio signals to scientists on Earth. "Perhaps most remarkable," writes Jaroff, "those signals emanate from an 8-watt transmitter, which radiates about as much power as a bedroom night light, and takes more than nine hours to reach Earth.'" The Little Satellite That Could was not qualified to do what it did. Engineers designed Pioneer 10 with a useful life of just three years. But it kept going and going. By simple longevity, its tiny 8-watt transmitter radio accomplished more than anyone thought possible.

So it is when we offer ourselves to serve the Lord. God can work even through someone with 8-watt abilities. God cannot work, however, through someone who quits.

It doesn’t take much energy to be servant as Mr. Larson indicates at the end of his story. Ever wonder what would happen if everyone just did a little … maybe an 8-watt effort.

Today is the 29th of February. Just one day which comes around only once every four years. Just one day out of 1,460 days in the 4-year cycle, but this one-day puts everything back into proper order. Aligns everything up correctly ... just a little adjustment in the earth’s rotation around the sun. Just one 8-watt effort, but it makes a world of difference.

What can we do? What should we do? Jesus came to serve and made a huge difference. He calls his followers to follow him into the act of serving. He doesn’t expect us to ransom our lives for others – well, not all of us at least. But he does have a level of expectation for us to at least give an 8-watt effort to making something happen.

Maybe, just maybe if we did our effort would have a more lasting affect as did that little Pioneer 10 satellite did. Who knows until we step forward to at least try.

Help us to do something with the energy that we do have. Help us to at least try with the energy that we do have. Help us to at least try to do something for others today … and then you, God, bring the glory! Amen

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