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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Cruising with Jesus -- Not for the Clock Watcher

Jesus Calls His First Disciples
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. (Matthew 4:18-20 NIV)


I am a senior citizen and at that time of life when one tells oneself (or is told by others) you’d better do it (fill in the blank) while you still can. If you're ever going to do it, do it now!  For many my age that means travel--perhaps a cruise to Alaska to experience majestic towers of nature.

I can imagine that one day while I’m walking along in Saint Petersburg, Jesus pulls up in a Land Rover.  He asks "How would you like to go with me to Lake Junaluska (a beautiful Methodist Resort/Retreat in the Great Smokies).  I've known for years that a major aim of a Christian is to walk with Jesus faithfully and with perseverance.  Since I daily pray for this "walk with Christ" I am overjoyed by this opportunity to ride with Jesus to may favorite Christian retreat. From my past road trips there,  I know that the journey will take about 10 hours--an incredible opportunity to fellowship one-on-one with Jesus.

In good time we neared Jacksonville and stopped at a little diner for lunch. A small group of people were gathered there including locals and some travelers like us.  The blue plate special of the day was fried catfish (caught locally) served with hush-puppies, fries, and slaw.  Just like in the Bible Jesus loved to connect with others, and our quick meal soon turned into a 2 1/2 hour rendition of parables (we would say, "stories with a point") and conversation that seemed to me at times too intimate and personal.  Yet Jesus never intruded.  The people seemed to sense that Jesus was not there to put them down, but to listen and encourage.  Finally we stood to leave when a local there mentioned that a distant cousin of his in Louisiana was a prisoner of stress and anxiety.  To my utter astonishment Jesus at once ditched our plans to travel directly to Lake Junaluska.  Instead we added days to our journey just to see this man's cousin.  The man, I might add, drove with us from the diner. So my private time with Jesus was extremely short-lived.  While Jesus ministered to the cousin in Louisiana, we learned of a treatment center in Lincoln, Nebraska that was encountering unusual success in treating the mentally disturbed.  With way too little deliberation from my point of view, our plans changed again and were off on a journey to Nebraska.

The gist of all this is that my ride with Jesus to a North Carolina resort was repeatedly preempted by other destinations. While I thought I was going with Jesus on a precious one-day road trip, it turned out instead to be something very different.  I then remembered the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew: “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

For Jesus the bucket list is less about places to see so much as people to free.


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