I’ve always been impressed, and a little intrigued, by the disciples’ readiness to answer Jesus’ call: “Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him.” (Matthew 4:19-20)
No hesitation, no questions asked, just instant obedience… and the start of a great adventure:
An adventure that would be amazing and challenging, that would mean seeing miracles and facing opposition, that would lead to some of the greatest experiences of their lives but also to sorrow and suffering, an adventure filled with disasters and triumphs and mistakes and victories, but where they would get to be part of what Jesus was doing and lead others to him.
I’m not really the adventurous type. I worry too much and see the dangers too readily. I imagine how it could all go wrong and fear creeps in and makes me want to play it safe…
Except, sometimes, I hear Jesus call. And when I do and when I know it’s him, his words have the same impact on me as they did on the disciples, and I am willing to follow, even if it seems a little crazy.
This week has been one of those times. I wasn’t planning to write about this yet, but then I saw the Live Free Thursday prompt and felt there was no reason for putting it off any longer.
Over the last couple of years I’ve been involved in a group within my church, which is focussed on a local community. The intention has been for it to become a church plant and, while I have understood the vision for this, part of me has always resisted it on a personal level and I have never really seen myself being a part of it.
A few weeks ago a timescale for the church plant was announced and we were asked to consider where God was leading and whether we were in or out.
I was pretty sure I was out. It seemed too unknown, too risky, too different. There were too many questions and too many people who wouldn’t understand, and I just couldn’t see how I would fit…
…But then God did something.
Just over a week ago I was standing in the middle of this community, waiting for someone who was coming to give me a lift. They were ten minutes late, and in those ten minutes as I stood and waited, God stepped in and transformed my whole way of thinking. It was as if he opened my eyes: to his love for people in this community, to the need they have to hear about him and to the potential there is to make a difference. It was like a call to be part of it. Suddenly I wanted to be part of it, and, despite the fact that my questions and doubts and reservations remained, it was like his call overshadowed them. It just felt like a peaceful certainty that this is where he is leading.
And when Jesus calls, you leave everything and go.
It’s scary- it’s stepping out into something that is largely unknown. I don’t usually like to commit myself to things unless I can see how they will work out.
It’s risky- there are all kinds of things that could go wrong and there is likely to be opposition.
It’s costly- I realise that I’ve been holding back from fully entering into church because of experiences in the past. There are wounds which have healed on the surface but have not been properly dealt with, and it’s been far too easy to stay on the edge, but I know that if I am going to do this I need to be all-in. I realise that will mean processing things that are still hurtful and confusing to think about, but I also know that I need to deal with them so that I can let them go and move on and enter into this thing and fully play my part.
It’s exciting- because this is so obviously not me it must be God, and I am starting to feel excited about being part of something new and different and at the thought of what he might do.
It’s worth it- following Jesus’ call is no guarantee that life will be easy. There will be challenges, but it will be worth it to be part of what he is doing, to see lives changed and to see people come to know him.
At the end of the day it’s not about my comfort or self-protection. It’s about God’s glory and living for him and making him known.
And so, the adventure begins…