August 20, 2022 | Read Time: 3 mins
I was deeply shocked by her answer to my question. A few years after getting married to my wife — we will celebrate nine years in just a few weeks — we were having dinner one night at our house when I proposed a futuristic question. This great idea was grounded in so many romantic comedies, but I learned that there are some things I should run by my wife first. So over dinner that night, I asked Claire what her thoughts were if I surprised her with a trip one day in the future. I would work things out with her job, she would come home, I would have packed our bags, and we could fly off to a planned vacation.
She said in the kindest way possible that all of it sounded like her worst nightmare. She told me how a surprise like that would stress her out on so many levels. But then she added this: “But if we decided to take off work together, packed our bags, and went to the airport not knowing where we were going, that would be fun.” I didn’t see how that was different. In fact, that seemed worse because, in that scenario, there was no plan at all.
What I have come to know about my wife is being surprised is not her love language, but going on a journey together brings her excitement. It’s not about being left in the dark where someone holds all the answers from the other; it is about discovering together the journey in front of us.
When I think about my faith, I’m thankful people didn’t force it on me. My family and friends did not push their faith on me, but they invited me on a journey with Jesus and with them. Nothing was ever held back from me along the journey, but my faith was slowly given over time as my curiosity and relationships deepened, both with Jesus and the community around me.
In our churchwide series, The Invitation, we are looking at the invitation that we as believers have received, how we are called to invite others into the journey of faith, and how we are to care for each other along the journey.
This invitation is not a bait and switch. It’s not a believe-or-get-out mentality. Instead, it’s an invitation to a relationship with Jesus and each other. The invitation is just the simple act of what God has already been doing for us all this time.
In Luke 5, Jesus calls Peter, James and John to trust, leave everything behind, and follow him. Maybe to your surprise, these three guys leave everything behind and begin to follow Jesus. Unfortunately, this Scripture has been used to tell others that no matter where you are or what questions you have about Jesus, we are to leave everything and follow Jesus. Although I believe Jesus is the only one worth following, I don’t think blindly following Jesus is at the heart of His invitation.
As we look back on this invitation from Jesus to follow Him, we find out that, first, this is not the first encounter between Peter and Jesus. Peter has already heard Jesus teach in the synagogue in Luke 4. Peter has had Jesus at his house already. Peter has seen Jesus heal a man while teaching, and he has seen Jesus heal his mother-in-law. Now in Luke 5, Peter listens to Jesus teach again from the boat. Peter is obedient to Jesus to go fishing again, although the timing of this fishing trip is all wrong. Then Peter reencounters Jesus’ power in a miraculous catch. Don’t forget Peter has also been told by his brother Andrew that Jesus is the Messiah.
It's on the backdrop of the relationship with Peter and Jesus that Jesus says, “Don't be afraid, from now on, you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything, and followed Him.
Jesus is inviting us to follow Him, but it’s not blind faith or one that is all about Jesus holding all the cards and never bringing us into the story of what’s going on. Instead, Jesus is inviting us on a journey with Him to discover who He is. He is walking with us and will answer the questions of our hearts.
Therefore, as a community of faith, we are called to carry the invitation of Jesus to those around us. We invite you to join us as we follow Jesus, and along this beautiful journey, we know that we together will discover the beauty, the majesty and the wonder of seeing Jesus face-to-face.
You are invited to join us. We don’t know what the journey holds, but we know we will discover it together as we long to follow Jesus with our whole life.