Tomorrow? I thought, pondering my schedule. Isn’t this a bit last minute? Tomorrow is Friday, a work day. I wanted to suggest we go after work, or maybe the following weekend but then quickly remembered who I was talking to!
“Are you sure? That’s a bit sudden.” I suggested. “I will go with you, but first let me go make sure its okay with my wife and family.”
Jesus said, “Anyone who who starts to plow and then keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God.”
What? I thought. “No, don’t get me wrong. I’m totally planning to come with Jesus, but I just need to make sure I don’t have any prior commitments.” I looked at my calendar and saw an important meeting that morning.
“How about this, Jesus,” I proposed. “I have an important meeting in the morning that I really shouldn’t cancel, but we can leave after that. We’ll be on the road before noon and still beat the cabin rushhour.”
“Have you ever heard the parable of the Great Banquet, Jeremy?” the Voice said on the other end.
”There was once a man who threw a great dinner party and invited many. When it was time for dinner, he sent out his servant to the invited guests, saying, ‘Come on in; the food’s on the table.’
“Then they all began to beg off, one after another making excuses. The first said, ‘I bought a piece of property and need to look it over. Send my regrets.’
“Another said, ‘I just bought five teams of oxen, and I really need to check them out. Send my regrets.’
“And yet another said, ‘I just got married and need to get home to my wife.’
“Jeremy, listen carefully,” Jesus said in a tone growing more serious. “The invitation I have just offered you has the potential to revolutionize your entire life. It is a gift that must be accepted and every day all over the world hundreds, if not thousands, choose to turn it down — or at least put it until a later time for various reasons.” He paused to let me ponder.
“Jeremy, what good is it for a person to have everything this world calls important — job security, perfect family, well-organized calendar, etc. — but to starve one’s very soul in the process?”
“I’m sorry, I’m not turning it down. I just need to take care of a few other….”
Jesus cut me off. “The journey you’ve been invited on supercedes all other commitments. It interrupts. It cancels out. It replaces and it sometimes destroys. If you are serious about learning my new way of life, things will have to change. ” And now in a just a whisper, “But it is so worth it. You won’t regret it.”
I sheepishly consented, “Okay, sunrise it is.” My mind still trying to process everything I was agreeing to, I asked another seemingly simple question, “What should I pack? What do I need to bring?”
Jesus chuckled again and I am guessing there was a twinkle in his eye if I could have seen Him. He answered, “Don’t pack anything for the journey. Don’t take a walking stick, a suitcase, food, money, or even a change of clothes.”
Is this a joke? Some kind of a test? Why does Jesus have to be…well…so strange? This is going to be an interesting weekend at the cabin. I thought about protesting but was beginning to think that Jesus has a master plan, and there’s probably a good reason for everything. Maybe I should just stop second guessing Him and just start trusting Him.
“The only thing you need at my Father’s cabin is an open mind and willing heart,” he said. “Oh, and a good pair of walking shoes.”
“See you in the morning!” Jesus said, again with an audible twinkle in His eye. And just like that there was no one on the other end of the line.
I put the phone back on my night stand, fell backwards onto my pillow, and closed my eyes in disbelief at the conversation I had just had. Did that just happen? Maybe I should keep sleeping off whatever strange migraine is playing tricks on my brain.
Soon I was fast asleep as the sun continued to rise, or set, on this strange morning or evening I was having.
SCRIPTURE MEDITATION: Read Luke 9:57-62; Luke 14:16-20; Matt 16:26
PERSONAL REFLECTION: When was the last time God interrupted your life? Can you think of a time when God asked you to do something spontaneous and a bit “crazy”? Did you obey? Do you tend to fit God into your plans or plan your life around God’s priorities? Why do you think Jesus didn’t want his disciples bringing a lot of stuff on their journey? What lesson is there for us?
PRAYER: “Dear Jesus, forgive me for all the excuses I make for not dropping everything to follow you. Forgive me for putting other things before you — even good things. Help me to be more spontaneous and adventurous in my faith — even if that means disrupting other plans and taking some risks. I will be waiting for you tomorrow morning bright and early. Amen.”