37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. (John 1: 37-40)
Yesterday, after June’s Celebration of Life, Myles came up to me and said “I don’t know how you Ministers do it”.
I looked a Myles probably with one of my dorkier looks because I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. What had I done that he thought was difficult? Shake people’s hands after worship? Pray a prayer out loud? Preach a sermon? Because all of those things, right, are just what I “do”; and in fact, I took several courses and continue to read many many books on exactly ‘how’ to do those Ministry type things. It turns out the Myles was referring to doing a funeral or a Celebration of Life. To be honest, I don’t find it difficult. I DO find it meaningful but not difficult. Sometimes I find funerals to be very moving, but that doesn’t mean its tough.
And frankly, I think Myles has a way tougher job than me, anyway. The guy’s a farmer, after all. Sheep are not, well, housetrained. And its COLD out.
And I realized in that moment that God calls us to do – well – out of things that we’ve got anyway.
You know, in the story of the loaves and the fishes, when the crowds were all getting a bit hangry and needing a break, and the disciples came up to Jesus and said “We’ve got to feed them before they turn ugly”. Jesus’ response was “Well, whatcha got to feed them?” and they came up with 5 loaves and 2 fish. And somehow that worked. And the whole crowd was fed? (Matthew 14, Lynne Gardiner Standard Version) And when Moses reached the Red Sea, and was stuck between the raging waters and Pharoah’s troops, God said, “Well, whatcha got to work with?” and Moses picked up his staff, and the rest is history (literally)(Exodus 14, LGSV). And when the first disciples wanted to follow Jesus, they just, well….followed because Jesus said “Come”. And then they brought their brother too.
You see, I think that we’ve spent too much time trying to analyze to death what exactly it means to be a good Christian and to “follow” what God has called to us to do. I’ve think we’ve thought we needed great big spiritual insights that are only attainable if we contort ourselves in all kinds of weird and wonderful ways, when I think the reality is that Jesus just says “Come”; and we do. I also think we’ve been sold a bill of goods that tell us that the only people who get to ‘do’ things are people that somehow have special skills and training to do those things; and that being an ‘expert’ is the only way you get to follow Jesus.
But we also know that God has made us exactly how we are. And that all God really wants from us to to follow when we’re told to. Follow with whatever we have. Follow with whatever skills we’ve developed. Follow with whatever skills we haven’t developed.
So, Jesus says “Whatcha got?” and we give over what ever we have – and that’s what’s used to, well
And provide a safe way through the sea of Life.
And in the process invite some people that we love to do exactly the same.
At Bethel, our Annual meeting is looming large. Its looming large because we have a proposal on the table that is controversial; and the proposal is to put a second bathroom in the hall. There’s good arguments for this, and there’s good arguments against this. But in the middle of all of this, it really is up to us to hear Jesus telling us to “Come” and we just follow, and to answer his very simple question of “Whatcha got?”
Because whatever we have to offer, that’s what God will use. That’s what God will use to feed people (and you know I mean that spiritually), and that’s what God will use to provide a safe way through the sea of life. And maybe you’ll be able to invite your brother, or someone else you love to be a part of it.
So, my dear Bethel Friends, as you ponder what you bring to the table, what God has called you to do, and what God has called Bethel to do; remember that is really simple. We are called to follow with whatever we have. That’s it. Its not any bigger or more mystical than that. Jesus says “Come” and we follow. And Jesus says “Whatcha got?” and whatever it is, it will change the world.
Blessings today and remember you are loved.