Last night Jo and I watched ‘Invictus’ – the latest film by Clint Eastwood, chronicling the early days of the Mandela presidency in South Africa leading up to the Rugby World Cup in 1995.

Quite a film. For starters it was nice to hear an american do an accent other than american in a convincing way. Matt Damon (at least to my ears) did a great job of perfecting an Afrikaaner accent. It was also beautifully shot (just makes me want to be in South Africa again) and powerfully done – especially the scene when the team go to a township, for what could well have been the first time for many of them, and they discover that ‘the other side’ are not so bad – though their living conditions certainly are.

On a more ‘theological’ note, it was quite challenging film. We’re about to have some new ‘Gospel Trainee’s’ start next week at our church, and we’re going to be going through John Piper’s book ‘Don’t Waste Your Life’… and Mandela is certainly someone who, on one level at least, has not wasted his life. He was in prison for 27 years. And as Matt Damon says in the film ‘I was thinking about how you spend 30 years in a tiny cell, and come out ready to forgive the people who put you there.’

He worked tirelessly for what he believed in – and he prevailed. He fought for a cause and won.

On Sunday I was teaching on Matthew 28 and the great commission – the call to make disciples who make disciples. There is nothing more important than this command. Jesus declares one thing after he has ‘been given all authority on heaven and on earth’ and it is to go and make disciples. Surely we are wasting our lives if we do not obey this command, with every ounce of our being?

At the end of the film Mandela says to François Pienaar ‘Thank you for all that you have done for our country’. Pienaar replies ‘No Mr President, – thank you for what you have done for our country’.

It made me think of those words that are promised to all those who persevere and follow Jesus ‘well done, good and faithful servant’. How odd are those words?! Jesus is the one who should be thanked, and yet he will say that to us? It just speaks, yet again of his grace and mercy, that he would use us in his service, to make disciples. Why would we waste our lives doing anything else?