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On this day in 1969, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon: Why your call matters to eternity

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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On this day in 1969, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon: Why your call matters to eternity
In this July 20, 1969 photo made available by NASA, astronaut Buzz Aldrin Jr. poses for a photograph beside the U.S. flag on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Aldrin and fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong were the first men to walk on the lunar surface with temperatures ranging from 243 degrees above to 279 degrees below zero. Astronaut Michael Collins flew the command module. (Neil Armstrong/NASA via AP)

“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” With these immortal words, astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to step on the moon on this day in 1969.

I remember watching the telecast along with half a billion people around the globe. My parents were especially emotional. They were born in the 1920s, an era when travel to the moon was the stuff of science fiction novels. To watch an American actually step onto the lunar surface was nearly overwhelming for them.

Armstrong and astronaut Buzz Aldrin explored the moon for two and a half hours, collecting samples and taking photos. They left behind an American flag, a patch honoring the fallen Apollo 1 crew, and a plaque on one of the landing module’s legs.

It reads: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”

Neil Armstrong will always be known as the “first man” on the moon, but he knew that the credit was not his alone. In an interview, he praised the “hundreds of thousands” of people behind the Apollo 11 project. “Every guy that’s setting up the tests, cranking the torque wrench, and so on, is saying, man or woman, ‘If anything goes wrong here, it’s not going to be my fault,'” he said.

Why your call matters to eternity

Armstrong’s statements are true of every significant endeavor. Our celebrity-obsessed culture glamorizes movie and television stars, but it’s the hundreds of names on the credits at the end of the show that make their work possible. When a COVID-19 vaccine comes to market, it may be attributed to the leader of the team that developed it, but untold numbers of lesser-known medical and technological professionals will have been part of the process.

If your kingdom assignment is not one that the world celebrates, know this: your obedience is noted and celebrated by the Audience that matters most.

Scripture assures us that God “will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God” (1 Corinthians 4:5).

If we remain “steadfast under trial,” no matter the visibility of our service, we will receive “the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12). That’s because “he who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor” (1 Corinthians 3:8).

Not many people know Julian Unger’s name, but he was the mechanic and driver who began the bus ministry that brought me to Christ. Dr. A. O. Collins was not widely known outside the university I attended, but his influence on my mind and life continues four decades after we first met.

Dwight Moody observed, “David was the last one we would have chosen to fight the giant, but he was chosen of God.”

What or who is your giant today?