“We’re just volunteers.” “We’re just pitching in the best we can.” Can you imagine Simon Peter or one of the other first followers of Jesus saying this to their Lord and Savior?
Nope. It wasn’t a club then. The church, the body of Christ, new every morning, isn’t a club now either. We have been sent out to lose our lives in witness and service, not to save our lives.
I heard Jim Thome’s Baseball Hall of Fame acceptance speech a couple months ago on ESPN. He is a charming, super positive guy. Humble, thankful, grateful. Always wanting to give credit where credit is due. Which is quite striking in today’s world of athletes. He thanked every coach and player who made an impact. Family members, parents, children, wife.
At the end of Thome’s speech, there was one message. It wasn’t about him. It was about the jour- ney through his career. He wasn’t just noticing a few kindnesses along the way. He allowed those kindness and breaks and people to help shape and form who he was in the process of being the best baseball player he could be.
When Jesus called Simon Peter to fish for people, He wasn’t calling him to be the center of a life well lived, but to become one of his esteemed disciples, spent in pursuit of making disciples. At the end of our lives, however long or short it may be on earth following Jesus, we, too are to become the best followers of Jesus we can be. This is what we have been created for. We are called to pursue a dream also. It is not just our own dream, but Christ’s call on our lives.
I think we sometimes confuse our American way of life with following Jesus. However, unlike our American way of life, there is no inalienable right to belong to the Christ’s church just by birth, or by some attribute or status. Rather, just like those first disciples of Jesus, you are chosen by grace alone and by Christ’s choice and call of you. Faith is awakened to trust his Promises as yours. No one in the church belongs by their own choice, making, credentials or accomplishments. Rather, Christ by his forgiveness and graciousness says, “Come, Follow Me.”
I am convinced the way Jim Thome lived life in pursuing his dream of playing Major League Baseball is similar to the way God is calling us to be His disciples. It is a pursuit to discover Christ’s leading in our lives for the sake of others getting good news. It is not only taking note of a kindness or a break, here or there, but allowing everything that is good and true and noble and upright and trustworthy to not be missed but see it as Christ’s gift to shape us and form us to be the best disciples we can become for Him.
Discipleship is allowing ourselves to discover Christ’s leading in our lives. It is about the ways Christ has shaped us by grace. If we are experiencing esteemed living in Christ by faith, then Someone else gets the credit. It’s about Christ Jesus as our Lord!
Happy Discoveries led by Christ, Pr Gary