08.14.14 by brent hand
2000 years ago, Jesus calls the first disciples. Asks them to follow Him and He’ll teach them how to do what He does. So they step out of the boat and begin following Jesus.
And that’s it. End of story. They immediately become super-powered, devil-bashing, theology-crushing, Jesus-followers and save the world without breaking a sweat. Music swells. Sun sets. Credits roll.
These guys weren’t anywhere near ready to start a church or heal the sick or preach the gospel when they stepped out of the boat. Even after THREE WHOLE YEARS of INTENSE Jesus-training these guys are still far from the “fathers of the faith” we know them as today. The week of Jesus’ death (just weeks before he’d leave them in charge) they were shown to resort to violence, fall asleep during prayer time, deny knowing Jesus, doubt him all together, and abandon their call to return to their fishing boat. These guys weren’t ready to change the world.
But then, there a came a day that changed everything.
Almost three years ago, my wife and I found out we were pregnant (mostly she was, but for some reason people say “we are pregnant” nowadays. I like saying it because it seems like an excuse for why I’m overweight other than my love of Chick-fil-a). People would always come up to me and with wide eyes ask “are you ready to be a dad?” I didn’t know what that even means (Bill Cosby and Danny Tanner make it look so easy).
But still for those months between announcing her coming, and Macy’s arrival, I must have gotten that question or some form of it a hundred times. And I began to ask myself “am I ready?” I mean this isn’t like getting ready for prom or a football game. You don’t just change into fancy clothes and psych yourself up. You put the crib together, you buy some stuffed animals, you learn how to swaddle, but even then are you really ready?
Macy came a month early making our short journey to parenthood all the quicker. Lauren’s water broke one Saturday night (her baby shower was the next day) and we rushed to hospital. The next day we were told they would induce labor on Monday. And that Sunday night I sat in the hospital room looking at the freshly unboxed carseat, thinking “I guess we’re as ready as we are going to be.”
The following days I learned to change a poop diaper, how to remove boogies with the help of that pointy-clown-nose-like-thing, and fell in love with the smell of baby (you know what i’m talking about). Was I ready? Of course not. But it was no big deal. There wasn’t a test I had to pass before we left the hospital. God wasn’t about to take her back if I wasn’t able to handle it. There wasn’t a board to approve of my fatherhood. I was new to this. And Macy seemed okay with that. She’s was new too.
The only way I’d ever BE READY for FATHERHOOD was for me to BECOME a FATHER.
The same way with these guys. The only way they were going to be ready to do all that God was calling them to do was by actually doing it. So Jesus gathers up the disciples one last time, looks them in the eyes and says “it’s yours! Go tell everyone what I told you. Go to the ends of the earth.” And then he leaves, with the disciples still staring into space wondering when he’d come back. Truth be told, I’m sure none of them thought they were ready.
But there’s some strange transformation that quietly takes place in our lives when we are pushed out into the real world. You’ve seen it throughout your life. When we sit behind the steering wheel for the first time, our boss calls in sick on the big day, or the coach calls on us with just seconds left on the clock. Somehow, we rise to the occasion. Sometimes it’s only when we have no other choice but to LEAD that we stop playing around and become the thing we were meant to be all along. We find in those moments we’re capable of so much more than what we’d hoped.
Jesus was right about us. We CAN do this.
So you think you AREN’T ready to do what God called you to do? So what? Neither were the disciples. But they did it anyway. Stop making excuses and go change the world.