My thoughts (David Zier):
When I graduated college in Florida, I initially thought I was going to take a job offer out west or in the south. Then at the last minute, I decided I wanted to go back home to the DC area. At the last minute, I applied for a job in Crystal City, VA, at Navy Headquarters. At 22, I was offered the job after a phone interview. I was in disbelief, but I took it because it got me home. When I started the job, I hated it. It was not the job they described to me. The job involved a project that had gone through some difficult issues and they were re-tooling the project team. So what did they do? Hire a 22 year old out of college, team him up with a naval officer who just returned from Japan, and put them in charge.
Beyond hating the job, I knew I had to do something to make sure I was successful as my first job out of college, especially taking on a project that was tens of millions of dollars, and having no idea what I was doing or why they put me here. (I guess that says a lot about what they expected out of the project, but i had been an engineer co-op at NASA during school.) The engineering part of the job and the system being designed and implemented was rather interesting and fun to deal with, but the big part, the project management, was foreign to me. I investigated other projects that were underway, especially the ones that were considered very successful. I finally found one person who I thought would be a good mentor. I attended meetings, asked lots of questions, and saw how things were done. The journey I was on was not exactly the one that I had planned, but I was following a teacher who was allowing me to learn some things to transform my thinking into what I needed it to be for my job.
Discipleship is a lot like the story of my first job out of college. When we make a decision to follow Jesus, we will take steps in the wrong direction and we will get to a point where we think we know know it all. Reality? We may not even know everything we are getting ourselves into. But it is a journey made to draw us closer to God, and cultivate a deeper relationship. Even after we make the decision, we can sometimes grow stale, or think we get to a point where we know it all. Is that really true? I think my spiritual journey keeps taking me back to Christ as a child, back to more learning and following the teacher (Christ), and taking steps forward, sideways, and sometimes backwards. Even when I think I have arrived at the Promised Land, there’s much to do.
This is like the journey of Abraham and the Jewish people in the Old Testament that today’s scripture passage reminds me about. In the beginning, Abraham journeys from Ur of the Chaldees to the Promised Land. Many generations later, Abraham’s descendants journey from slavery and oppression in Egypt into the land of Israel. Many generations after that, they journey back to their Promised Land after the tragic downfall of their civilization and their forced exile in Babylon. Are we there yet?
What does it mean for you to follow Jesus? (Not what someone told you, or what someone else thinks it means. This is for you to answer when Jesus says “come follow me.”) What does Jesus teach you through his journey, his teachings, his passions, and his actions? What does it mean to follow, and what can help us?
LifeJourney Church suggests building blocks (‘W’, ‘C’, ‘G’, ‘S’, ‘D’ and ‘?’) of spiritual disciplines that will help us with our soul care. They include Worship, Connection, Generosity, Service and Discipleship. The “?” block exists because there is not just one way or one path for everyone. Sometimes God is calling us to something beyond: a new vocation/profession requiring training, losing weight or eating healthier so that we can serve more joyfully and healthfully, or working on a relationship to put God in the center, are good examples.
When was the last time you carefully thought about and considered your discipleship journey? Where is God taking you and what does it mean to be a follower of Jesus?
Thought for the day: Have you made a decision, or rededication, to follow Christ – to allow Jesus to be your teacher, deepen your faith and relationship with God, and be transformed even more in Christ? What is God asking you to do on your Journey today and in the coming year? Link to the online Soul Care plan — Soul Care Link.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.