As he was walking along the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter), and his brother Andrew. they were casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. “Follow me,” he told them, “and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
This week in session 6 of Disciples Path we think about what it means to join Jesus on mission, and that on the heels of session 5, “The Blessing of Community.” Now what do these two ideas—mission and community—have in common?
Both of them are inconvenient.
Genuine community tends to break down our schedules: whether it’s shared between a husband and wife, parents and their children, or believers and their church, real and meaningful community is the kind of thing that will invade your free time and re-draw your plans for how life should look. And meaningful mission is the same.
You can see it happen in the passage above with Peter and Andrew. They were career fishermen, and if you’d walked up to them the moment before Jesus showed up and asked them their plans for the next week and the next year (not to mention the rest of their lives), they would have told you something that was lightyears away from what was actually going to happen.
Why? Because in just a moment, Jesus would show up and call them away from their plans. Jesus was about to offer them a supreme inconvenience. And a supreme meaning. Which brings me to the one-sentence point of this short mediation:
The things we allow to inconvenience us are the very things that give us meaning.
If we want to have meaningful relationships with our friends and family members, we have to allow them to inconvenience us. If we want a meaningful church community, we have to allow it to inconvenience us. And if we want a life of meaningful mission, we have to say yes to that mission even (and maybe especially) when it feels inconvenient.
When I think about the person who lived the most meaningful life ever, it seems to me that a lot of it must have felt just a bit inconvenient. Trudging through the towns and countryside of Galilee and Judea with no place to call his own, being deliberately misunderstood by the very people he was giving his life for, suffering the shame and the pain of the whip and the nails—none of us would willingly post those things as events in our calendars.
And yet, when the Son of God says, “Follow me,” what else is he saying, but to give up our lives to being inconvenienced? Because he knows better than anyone, that inconvenience=meaning.
See you this Sunday,
p.s. We had some great questions a couple of weeks ago in our 3pm prayer time. If you want to follow up on a couple of them, check out theses two talks by Peter J. Williams: “Moral Objections to the Old Testament,” and “Are the New Testament Documents Reliable?”