It was the last one of its kind, and approximately four minutes into it a voice comes over the communication – negative return! Had something gone wrong? Had something gone amiss? Had some small detail been over looked? What was this negative return? Jesus taught it. He exemplified it in His life, and it’s a good reminder for all of us. Negative return! Negative return!
A man had been lying at the pool for 38 years and desperately wanting to get into the waters, believing if he did he would be healed. Then Jesus comes along and asks him, do you want to be healed? Seems like a silly question to ask to man who had been sick for 38 years. You say you want to be healed, but do you pick up your bed? You say you want to break that addiction, but do you pick up your bed? You say you want to break that bad habit, but do you pick up your bed? Do you do all that God tells you to do? Jesus told him to rise, pick up his bed and walk. So the man rose and picked up his bed … he didn’t want to go back so he picked up his bed … he crossed the point of negative return.
In II Kings chapter 13, Elisha the prophet is desperately sick and upon his death bed, so Joash the King of Israel comes to him seeking spiritual guidance in his fight against Syria. So Elisha tells Joash to take some arrows and strike the ground. Then Joash takes the arrows and strikes the ground once, twice, thrice … three times he strikes the ground and then he stops. At this point Elisha becomes angry with Joash and tells him, you should have struck the ground five or six times then you would have struck Syria till you would have destroyed it. But now you will only strike Syria three times. Theologians suggest he only struck the ground three times because he wanted to hang onto parts of Syria for political gain. He didn’t do all that God wanted him to do! Negative return was not for Joash, the king of Israel.
In John chapter 19, Jesus is in the hands of Pilate, just hours before the crucifixion of Christ. Pilate is wavering and squirming trying to figure out what to do with this man Jesus Christ. Let him go, or crucify him! Let him go, or crucify him! Let him go, or crucify him! Such agony, anger and struggle for Pilate. So he asks Jesus, where are you from? Silence! Jesus said not a word. Then Pilate says, do you not know I have power to crucify you and power to let you go! Jesus responds, you could have no power at all against me, unless it had been given from above. Jesus willingly and lovingly gave himself upon the cross of Calvary for our sins. He shed his blood that we might be forgiven. He rose again that we might have life. It was the point of negative return.
It was July 8th, 2011 and space shuttle Atlantis had begun its final mission into space. In fact, it was the last mission for the space shuttle program. It was about four minutes into the mission, about 58 miles in altitude, 160 miles down range, and traveling at a speed of over 5,000 miles per hour and a voice comes over the communication, Atlantis, negative return. It was at this point that the space shuttle Atlantis was too far down range, too high in altitude to return to the launch site in case of an engine failure. They couldn’t go back to where they just came from. They couldn’t go back to where they just came from. They hit the point of negative return.
Jesus told the man at the pool to rise, pick up his bed and walk. So he rose, picked up his bed and walked. Oh he could have rose and walked away and left his bed there, but he was determined not go back. He picked up his bed and walked. He didn’t want to be sick anymore. He was tired of the past. Jesus gave him a new life, and he found joy and healing in that life. He wasn’t going back. He wasn’t going back. He hit the point of negative return.
Jesus said it like this in Mathew Chapter 10 He who finds his life shall lose it; he who loses his life for my sake shall find it. Only by crossing the point of negative return can you actually do what God has called you to do, and be all that God wants you to be. Leave all your other options off the table. Pick up your bed and leave your old life behind. Lose your life in the new life that Jesus Christ has for you. Cross the point, cross the point, cross the point of negative return.