I think Peter, the disciple, gets a bad rap. He’s often talked about for making quirky comments, or speaking too fast, or for being the one who failed at walking on water. But I love this man!
If we will take a look at his journey and quit pointing fingers, we’d soon see how much we have in common with him. This crazy guy who said he’d follow Jesus anywhere he went and then changed his mind, yes I believe that sounds like you and I. Or the Peter who just saw Jesus perform miracles, and then failed to believe Jesus could keep his feet atop the water when he was called out on the water — well, that’s definitely me.
Between Peter’s two follows.
Peter, a fisherman by trade, was first called by Jesus in Matthew 4. Peter is at work and along comes Jesus calling out, “Come follow me and I’ll show you how to fish for people.”
No questions asked. No clarifications giving. Didn’t Peter think that fishing for people sounded a little strange? But immediately Peter commits, leaves his net, and follows Jesus. Oh how I wish I knew the rest of the story! My heart screams tell me more, tell me more.
And sense I won’t know the rest of the story until heaven, I’ll just fill in what my heart is telling me for now.
The first follow.
When Peter is called he is in awe by the pure authority of Jesus. Maybe even the emotion of the call swells up in his heart. Because my personality is so much like Peter’s, maybe he had a great empathy for people. Fishing for people and helping them tugged at his heart, so it was easy to drop his net and follow.
Swept up in the emotion of being chosen, he doesn’t think. He doesn’t consider what the call will entail or what he’ll sacrifice on this unknown journey. He doesn’t think about the ridicule he’s surely to receive from family and friends. He just simply obeys!
He jumps. He follows. He risks. He gets comfortable.
The second follow.
After years of following Jesus, performing miracles, being scoffed at by others, eventually denying Jesus three times, and seeing Jesus crucified Peter is toast. He’s undone. I’m sure he’s beating himself up for being a failure. Maybe he even pins the heartbreak of Jesus’ crucifixion on himself.
No matter what Peter is thinking, Jesus shows up again. He doesn’t just show up to converse with Peter (John 21:15-23), but to say yet again “Follow Me!”
There’s no quick immediate response this time. Maybe he hung his head low thinking you’ve got to be kidding, I totally failed the first time. Or maybe he thought why would I want to be vulnerable put myself through the heartache again.
No matter what was going through his head, one thing is for certain. He did not respond immediately as he did the first time. His brain took over.
I think I’m Peter.
Called a year ago to create a ministry that served the homeless and those needing help in my city, I eagerly set out. I knew it was a call from Jesus, there was no denying that. The emotion of the call made it easy to step forward afraid. I sought the Lord and his vision and blindly followed.
Over the course of the year I saw what a “call” really entails. Rude comments from friends not understanding, nor even trying to. Ridicule from those who think they can do it better or that you’re doing it wrong. Even a few hurtful conversations with those you’re serving telling you you are not a blessing. The burden of the souls never leave your mind. The flexibility in your schedule diminishes.
But I am thankful that emotion swept me out into the deep of a call.
I wouldn’t trade the hurts and heartache for anything. I’ve seen Jesus move in miraculous ways as I’ve trusted beyond my capacity. It’s been an incredible journey.
While the journey is still unfolding, in some aspects it has become a comfortable. And wouldn’t you just know it — just like in Peter’s situation, Jesus shows up again with another “Follow me.”
I confess. For a month I’ve sat with my head hung low, pondering. Thinking about the heartache that can come from moving ahead with a “Yes, Lord.” Rationalizing my lack of knowledge for the call. Oh my, I’ve been thinking too much.
While Peter only asks questions of Jesus when he’s approached with the second “Follow me,” we do know by the rest of the Bible that he went on to follow and do great works for the Kingdom.
But today, I want to give Jesus more than my questions. I want to give him my answer.
Jesus, “Yes. I’ll go.”
I’m taking my first scary step this week. I’ll be sharing this journey with you beginning this Thursday. Thanks to Amy Sullivan and her challenge to #RiskRejection, I’ll be risking and sharing the journey along the way. Read about the challenge and join in here.
What about you? Have you been called? What was your answer?
Are you thinking and answering with your heart or your head?
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