What would cause someone to quit their job and become homeless of their own free will? What things do you think/daydream/long for that you keep putting of because it seems unreasonable or impossible?
Oh Know They Didn’t
I think about this of late, esp. with the continual stream of bad news about our economy permeating our consciousness. I have a job, pays the bills, has the benefits, and I don’t believe I would just up and quit because someone asked me to come along.
What I find fascinating is what happened with the 12 disciples, aka Peter and Co. Jesus went up to these 12 guys and asked them to follow him. There wasn’t a cool power point presentation, there wasn’t a brochure or even excellent word of mouth. He. Just. Asked. Them.
Consider Peter and Andrew. They were on their job, working as fishermen. Jesus rolls up and says to them, “Follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men.” Wait, what? What does that even mean? Put yourself in their position. Here they are, working hard, and this random guy walks up and says something so…cryptic. Yet at the same time…intriguing. And Pete and Andy left with him.
Consider Matthew. There he was, working for the government as a tax collector. I can imagine he made his parents proud, their son with the cushy high paying job. So here comes Jesus, walking right up to him, face to face. Jesus didn’t tell Matt about the miracles that would happen or even the circumstances surrounding his birth, death, and revelation of his true identity. All Matt got at the time was, “Follow me.” And he did.
What Was Gained From Something Ventured
It is enough to make you want to lay down and take a nap because your head hurts from trying to figure it out. Imagine you are on your job. Some guy you have never met walks up to you and asks you to join him. What would you do? I can only imagine the phone call to my wife Stephanie:
Me: Hey boo, ummm… so I quit my job today.
Stephanie: You did what? Wait, say that again.
Me: Yeah this guy came to the office and asked me to follow him, so I did. But it’s okay, I’ve got a good feeling about this.
Stephanie: Are you messing with me? You quit your job because some guy asked you to? Are you serious?
Me: Well, there are some other guys here following him to, about 12 of us all together. I’m not sure where we are going to live or how the whole food situation is going to play out, but everything is going to be okay, this Jesus guy seems alright. I’ll check back in later.
It defies reason so much so, it’s almost comical. But that is what they did. Peter was married, I can only imagine how that conversation went. They willfully became unemployed and homeless to follow a man they never met because he asked them to follow him. They gave up so much, but look at just a portion of what they gained:
1. At the time, most people only traveled about 30 miles outside of their home. These guys in their lifetime went all over the known world.
2. These guys were hand picked, not the masses that followed to see what they thought was the hottest ticket in town: Jesus the Superstar.
3. These guys were the architects of what we know as the Church (although it looked a whole lot different when they started it).
4. These guys were a part of the love revolution that flipped the world upside down that is still going strong thousands of years later.
5. They left such a rich legacy that we are still talking about them and their lives thousands of years later.
And on and on. Each one of them had a choice, to keep doing what they were doing or be something more. Each one of them could have chosen the comfortable, logical choice or jump into the unknown.
Sure, we know how their stories played out, but they didn’t. I’m almost certain there were people who tried to “talk some sense” into them. I’m sure people laughed at them and said all kinds of hurtful comments. Well, until they realized these twelve “fools” were at the epicenter of something incredible. So why did Peter and his boys do it?
A Mysterious and Lovely Story
I think it all came down to a better story. The “follow me” was the invitation which sparked curiosity. These guys didn’t blindly follow. Sure, they went to check it out, but it was the story that caused them to stay. A story of love.
A story told from the beginning of time which they realized they and everyone were involved in. Love for people, good and bad. Love for themselves, regardless of shame or their past. Love for their community to help meet a need. Love had come, and gave them hope.
Peter and company didn’t have all the answers to their questions. “Follow me” or “I’ll make you fishers of men” doesn’t convey much in terms of logistics and practicality. All they knew was some guy, from Nazareth of all places, asked them to follow him. Sure, it could have turned out to be a complete disaster, yet they weighed the options and took that journey into mystery. And that made all the difference.
There is something in your life, not as extreme as what Peter and Co. did, but just as scary and unknown. So the question is, are you willing to take that journey?
[photo by cbsowers]