…These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. Revelation 14:4 NKJV
Following Jesus Christ is an adventure that is full of surprises.
Some of them are WONDERFUL!
Some of them seem less so.
But one thing this relationship is not…
It is never boring!
Mrs. Cowman in her devotional Streams In The Desert wrote,
After all these years I would say, this, is as honest and true a statement about the life of faith as I have ever found.
Jesus definitely, “…kept to no beaten path” nor did anything “fall out” as I expected.
The “Call” can come when you least expect it.
I didn’t especially like the Apostle Peter when I first met him. Yet over the years he has grown on me. I think it was his brashness and bravado that I disliked at first, but now I see them as a very necessary asset to this life of discipleship. Peter had chutzpah!
Chutzpah is a Yiddish word that means: audacity, cheek, nerve, guts, boldness or temerity.
When you’re walking with “a wild lion” like our Lion of Judah?
I think you’re going to need a good dose of chutzpah!
Later Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Lake of Galilee. This is how it happened:
A group of us were there—Simon Peter, Thomas, “The Twin,” Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, my brother James and I and two other disciples.
Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”
“We’ll come too,” we all said. We did, but caught nothing all night. At dawn we saw a man standing on the beach but couldn’t see who he was.
He called, “Any fish, boys?”
“No,” we replied.
Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get plenty of them!” So we did, and couldn’t draw in the net because of the weight of the fish, there were so many!
Then I said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” At that, Simon Peter put on his tunic (for he was stripped to the waist) and jumped into the water and swam ashore. The rest of us stayed in the boat and pulled the loaded net to the beach, about 300 feet away. When we got there, we saw that a fire was kindled and fish were frying over it, and there was bread.
“Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. So Simon Peter went out and dragged the net ashore. By his count there were 153 large fish; and yet the net hadn’t torn.
“Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said; and none of us dared ask him if he really was the Lord, for we were quite sure of it. [John 21: 1-11]
This is one of my favorite scenes in the Bible.
After breakfast Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these others?”
“Yes,” Peter replied, “you know I am your friend.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
God’s call is serious business.
I like what Ravi Zacharias said in an interview with Major John Carter when asked whether he felt “called” to ministry.
Mr. Zacharias, do you feel called to do this type of work?
RZ: Absolutely. And I don’t use that word lightly. Yesterday, as I was driving my wife to the airport (she was going to see her father who is not well), I said to her, “You know, if it weren’t for the call of God, this is not what I would do.” It demands a type of mental mindset, especially the travel side of it. It takes its toll physically and emotionally. I’ve never wanted to be away from my wife and kids for any period of time, and yet that’s what I have to do in my itinerant world. I think to know that you are called is a seal within your heart. I might also add—this is one thing that is not stressed for many who go into the ministry at this time. Today it is almost a manufactured profession. John Stott’s comment years ago was very appropriate when he said that the pastor’s study is replaced by the terminology “pastor’s office.” He said the study is where you learned and understood and heard from God and then went and spoke to the people. The office is where you manage a group of people. And without pushing it too far, the point is still well taken.
A calling is a beckoning. It is something like Samuel Wesley dying and telling his son: it’s that inner witness. There is something in your heart that God seals, and when I look at the way it has happened, the steps one after another, I could never have engineered any thing like this. I wouldn’t have wanted to or had the capacity to. It’s the calling of God that prepares your heart and prepares the place for your heart. No doubt, I am a hundred percent sure in my heart that God’s calling is on my life to do this work of a Christian apologist…
JC: In speaking about difficult times and perhaps adversarial areas, have there been any low points in your life that have influenced you in your ministry? A low point and perhaps a high point that you would like to share with us?
RZ: Low points were generally induced by fatigue. If you are not getting the sleep, your body is being subject to a lot of strain. You get down and you have those times. There are some times when there are low points where great disappointment comes to you, maybe in people, in relationships. I’ve seen some great disappointments, and one of the things that I’ve learned through all of that is you cannot build a steady faith on the basis of human observation. There will be people who let you down, and I’m sure we let other people down. They may not have the expectation that you have in leadership. I don’t mean in a moral sense; I mean in some reaction or whatever. So there have been some low points in the earlier days of ministry, some disappointments. But it helps to remember that you must keep your eyes focused on your calling, otherwise you will give up.
The high points are wonderful, but also must be tempered with a grain of salt. You cannot live just for the success or happy moments. To quote Nietzsche, this requires “a long obedience in the same direction.” The high points and the low points are markers along the way, but you have to keep the plain road ahead of you and not be guided by the extremes. They are the punctuation marks in life. For instance, a high point may be a wedding day, but the days that follow is where you really demonstrate what it means to be married. The emotions are not as mercurial as the high point in that sense, but your heart does that which is right.
God calls us into “a life without borders” not a life of surety and safety.
His call may not come where or when you think it should. Yes, it may come with great emotion in an auditorium full of thousands of worshipers.
But… it might just come in your kitchen, while you’re all alone, frying fish!
God tends to show up in the most unexpected places, in the most unexpected ways, and at the most unexpected times. He keeps to no beaten path.
With The Wild Lion?
The only safe bet is to expect the unexpected.
What you make of this moment changes everything!