Originally published Tuesday, 10 May 2016.
I picked my bible reading plan off the ground on Friday. It was a folded up piece of paper lying in the middle of a muddy parking lot.
If you’re wondering how it got there in the first place I can tell you. Xylon and I were rushing out the house for a weekend away and I thought I better read my bible while I’m away so I grabbed the bible reading plan folding four times and stuffed it into the back of jean pockets.
Then we stopped to buy cake to take with us - as one does - and on my way inside the bible plan must have fallen out my pocket. I spotted it on the way back to the car. Quickly picked it up and stuffed it back into my jeans.
To be honest I haven’t been succeeding very well at my lame bible-reading plan. There have been a lot more “rest days” than the one the plan allows for so far. On Saturday I found myself reading Day 5 and Day 6. But I’ve been reading the bible, which is more than I’d done for the rest of the year. So I'm not beating myself up about not sticking perfectly to the plan.
As I read through Matthew 4:18-22 I felt the old familiar pull I feel towards Jesus every time I read the words, “Come, follow me.”
It’s the one invitation I can never resist.
Jesus – God among us – calling me to him, requesting me to join him just as I am.
Whenever I read those words I see myself in whatever situation I find myself and imagine Jesus walking by.
This weekend as I sat with a borrowed bible, and mud stained bible plan, I imagined Jesus walking past me and saying, “Come, follow me.” I wanted to imagine myself jumping up immediately and going with him but instead my imaginary self-started saying, “Are you sure Jesus? You want me. I’m a lame bible-reader. And I haven’t loved all those closest to me well this year. And...”
I didn’t like what I was imagining so I stopped and went back to Matthew 4:18-22 and read again.
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.
Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
I felt so challenged by Peter and Andrew and James and John. How they left everything when Jesus invited them. How they didn’t ask questions or feel less than enough. How they just went. And I wanted that too. I wanted to respond to Jesus without letting myself get in the way.
I sat there with the Bible in my lap and I read the invitation again,
“Come, follow me.”
And this time, since there was no physical Jesus walking by to jump up and run after, I responded with a prayer:
Jesus, I’m coming!
Thank you for inviting me to walk with you.
I’m not sure what you saw me in me but it makes me want to spend time with you so I can see people the way you do.
I so often feel left out of things and I can’t believe that you picked me. YOU picked me! This is the best day of my life.
And as I prayed I wondered what Peter and Andrew and James and John said to Jesus as they walked away from fishing boats, parents, and nets that needed to be repaired. I wondered if their conversation with Jesus sounded anything like mine.
And as I prayed I forgot all the failures of the week before, all the bible verses I hadn’t read, as I prayed I realised none of it mattered as much as getting up and walking after Jesus when he invites me with a simple, “Come, follow me."