On September 15, SpaceX did something that had never been done before. They launched the Inspiration 4 on a historic mission to space. It was the first ever all-civilian crew to go into space and included the youngest American ever to go into space. It was also the first time a spacecraft carried humans into space without any professional astronauts on board.
The idea was the brainchild of billionaire tech entrepreneur, Jared Isaacman, who bought the flight from SpaceX in order to raise $200 million for childhood cancer research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
The hospital was the dream of radio, television and movie star, Danny Thomas, and is based on the premise: “No child should die in the dawn of life.” Founded in 1962, St. Jude focuses on catastrophic diseases that affect children. Although it costs over $2.8 million a day to operate, no child or their family is ever charged for their care.
Ironically, one of the four civilian crew members on board was Hayley Arceneaux, a physician’s assistant at St. Jude, who was actually treated for bone cancer at St. Jude when she was 10 years old. Before she left on the historic flight, she said, “I’ll be launching into orbit with the memories of all my friends that didn’t make it through cancer, all the kids who are in the battle right now, and all the other survivors.” 1 The other crew members included Isaacman, who served as commander, Sian Proctor, who is a geoscientist and community college professor and Chris Sembroski, who is an aerospace data engineer.
Over the three-day period, the Inspiration 4 crew orbited the earth at over 17,000 mph and soared to an altitude of 367 miles above the earth. A distance further than Wichita is from Dallas. The flight took them higher than both the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope.
They took a lot of pictures, performed a series of scientific experiments, chatted with patients at St. Jude and even spoke with Tom Cruise and Bono while they were orbiting the earth.
It’s an amazing story and an equally amazing accomplishment as they were able to surpass their goal of raising $200 million for St. Jude. SpaceX founder and CEO, Elon Musk, donated $50 million to help them.
“It’s an amazing story and an equally amazing accomplishment as they were able to surpass their goal.”
What the Inspiration 4 crew accomplished and what St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has done and continues to do every day are both inspirational and phenomenal. But like the three-day mission to space, what St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital does is limited. It’s temporary. No hospital or group of hospitals and no amount of trips to space could ever raise enough money to eliminate all disease, suffering, pain and death.
There is, however, another idea I’d like you to consider. I admit, it is an “out of this world” idea. It has to do with the local church and the Good News of the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST. The work of the local church is to spread the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST and reach as many children, youth and adults as we possibly can. Because when someone comes to know JESUS as Lord and Savior, they are going to live forever (John 3:16).
JESUS said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25).
The work of the local church has the touch of eternity on it. What does that mean? It means that everything else on this earth, every organization, enterprise, business, idea, concept, effort or accomplishment is, at best, temporary. Is it wrong to give them our time, energy and resources. Not at all. Just keep in mind, it’s temporary.
But when we give to the ministry of our local church, keep in mind whatever we give, whatever the size of our gift … we’re investing in eternity (Matthew 6:19-21). It’s forever.
And the return on our investment will literally be … out of this world.
© 2021. Barry L. Cameron
1 Garland, Max, and Keira Wingate. “Cancer Survivor Hayley Arceneaux to Become Youngest American in Space with SpaceX Launch.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 16 Sept. 2021, www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/09/15/hayley-arceneaux-spacex-mission-youngest-american/8345539002/.
Barry Cameron is a devoted father and husband, bestselling author, dynamic communicator, and Senior Pastor of Crossroads Christian Church. Crossroads has a gorgeous, 150-acre campus in Grand Prairie, Texas. More than 8000 people call Crossroads their church home. Barry’s latest book, The Road to Financial Freedom, came out in the fall of 2020 and is available on Amazon. It’s another game changer for individuals and families who want to fix their finances once and for all.
Barry and his wife, Janis, have three children: Katie, Matt and Kelli. A daughter-in-law, Lindley and a son-in law, Johnny. They also have two grandsons, Will and Levi. Their family has been completely debt free since November 15, 2001.
Crossroads Christian Church has been debt free since November 9, 2008.