From the pulpit: Following faithfully down the path God prepares

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 17, 2007

By Bryan Sisson / Guest Columnist

“One day as Jesus was walking along the shore beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers – Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew – fishing, with a net, for they were commercial fishermen. Jesus called out to them, ‘Come, be my disciples, and I will show you how to fish for people.’ And they left their nets at once and went with him. A little further up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, mending their nets. And he called to them to come, too. They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.” (Matthew 4:18-22 NIV)

As I sit to write this article reality is beginning to sink in for me. In just a few short days I will be leaving with seven other pastors, and a guide, for a fifteen-day journey in and around Galilee and Jerusalem, Israel. Our goal is to walk the land where Jesus walked and prayerfully study Christ’s life by immersing ourselves within the land. Our hope is that by experiencing Israel it might forever change and challenge not only our personal ministries, but also our very lives.

We’ve met together to discuss suggested readings, books and maps. We’ve studied the life and social customs of the people. We’ve even invited speakers to share the current “state” of Israel today. All of this done in order to go into the experience with open eyes and hearts and spirits. We’ve done everything in our power to prepare and I still don’t feel prepared.

I wonder if the disciples ever felt ill prepared. I wonder if – as Jesus was calling them out into a new and “foreign” life – they ever stopped once to question. My gut feeling says that they did. They, like us, must have experienced some sense of trepidation as they followed Jesus, a stranger, unto lives of personal ministry. And yet, despite human fear and questions, they faithfully followed. They said yes to Christ without having all of the bags packed, without having all the books read and studied up on, without having all of the answers to their questions.

I feel this is the same challenge for us today. To accept and claim God’s calling for our individual lives. At times we don’t always feel prepared for the kind of living into which we are being led. We don’t always feel skilled and equipped for the ministries into which God is nudging us. And yet, the joy we can rest assured in is that when we say yes to Him, God responds. When we faithfully answer the call, God prepares our hearts and spirits for the living out of His glory.

When we respond God makes ready the path ahead.

Bryan Sisson is the pastor at Morningstar United Methodist Church in Chelsea