This week, I will embrace the next adventure of faith!
Ministry is hard. But Jesus intends to make something impressive out of your troubles.
Jesus had options. Planning to cross a lake in Matthew 8, he could have ordered up beautiful, mild breezes for a lovely, restful little cruise with his disciples. Or he could have said, Hey boys, storm’s a-brewing. Let’s wait a day … or Hey, let’s go around the lake on land.
But no. Jesus “gave orders.” He chose the storm. He knew it would be an adventure in faith — growth opportunity.
When Jesus calls us into the storm, how do we respond?
Some of us go along eagerly at first. Just before Jesus got into the boat in Matthew 8, a law professor stepped up and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” But Jesus knew better. You say you’re eager to follow me, he replied; but the day is going to come when your spouse shows you the door, or when you lose your job, or when your money runs out. The real question isn’t How eager are you to follow me? It’s How faithfully will you keep following when you’re abandoned, broke, unemployed … when everything is going badly?
When Jesus calls us into the storm, some of us say we want to follow Jesus, but there are other priorities in our lives — and we want God to bless them first. Any time left afterward, we’ll give that to God. We’re like the other guy in Matthew 8, who said, “First let me go and bury my father.” His father was probably not dead. (Otherwise, he would have already been heading home for the funeral.) He was talking about getting his inheritance: “My father’s elderly, he’ll die soon, then I’ll have the whole estate — and think how much more effective I can be in the ministry if I have a truckload of money!”
But Jesus had a different priority: “Follow me.” In other words, I’m going to do a work in you that has more value to you and to the Kingdom than the value of whatever you’re waiting around for. Nothing is worth putting your spiritual life on hold for. There’s too much work to be done in the Kingdom — and more importantly, there’s too much growth to be accomplished in your life — in the meantime.
The disciples — those closest to Jesus — were the ones willing to get in the boat and go. Jesus was calling them to a new adventure, another day of walking with him — or in this case sailing with him. It was a “given” for them: they wanted to be with Jesus!
If Jesus sees my next inevitable storm in my life or ministry as an adventure, how do I feel about getting into his boat?
My Prayer for the Next Seven Days… Lord, my instincts are to bail out of “faith adventures” — or put them off — because it’s hard to grow through trials. Please give me the courage to get into the boat with you … and experience the whole adventure with you! Amen.