They weren’t Looking for adventure…
…but as they pursued these 3 things adventure found them!
Whatever it was that motivated Jesus’ disciples, I doubt it was a thirst for thrills. Peter actually told Jesus to get away from him at first. The others were called and then called others to follow him. None of them give any indication that they were adrenaline junkies looking for the “next big thing.” In fact, I think if you look at this more closely, these are the things we should be using to inspire young people instead of thrills.
Can you just hear God saying, “Moses, are you up for an adventure?” And you don’t see him running out the door like Bilbo Baggins shouting “I’m going on an adventure!” He was reluctant but he was faithful to the challenge; not for the thrills but because of the great need.
I know that there are books that say that men need adventure because they are “wild at heart.” This sounds more like evolution than Scripture! When God calls Adam, he doesn’t challenge him to go kill a Rhino or get to the top of Everest. Instead, he tasks him with caring for all of creation. The heart of a disciple is motivated by something greater than an exciting quest!
Here are 3 godly motivations that should motivate Christ followers…
1. Risky Faith
Think of some of the statements in Scripture. When Jesus tells Nathaniel that he saw him when he was sitting under the fig tree (an adventurer if I’ve ever seen one …) Nathaniel is excited because he finally sees the promise of God. Jesus reacts to this and says: You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than that.” He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”(John 1:51) That probably piqued his interest!
Consider the woman who told her whole village “Come meet a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”(Jn 4:29) She was having a boring day and not meeting the man of her dreams, until she met the Messiah –a man beyond her wildest dreams. But it is faith that stirs up the heart and puts her on this adventure, not just seeking adventure alone.
How can we inspire risky faith in young people? How do we get them this excited about following Jesus?
2. Costly Truth
It was faith that there was something, “more than this..” or that maybe things were about to change, that motivated the disciples to check out this new teacher. Other men their age had followed other zealots but this Jesus was different. He didn’t incite them to riot or to stage an insurrection like the others.
The dream ended for a lot of followers however, when Jesus’ teaching seemed confusing and required too much commitment. Things like you have to eat my flesh and drink my blood, or “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing,” that may have turned their stomachs and they walked off.
It is in that moment that the disciples reveal their other motivation for following. When Jesus asks them if they’re going to desert him too, they respond, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”(Jn 6:68,69)
How can we inspire youth to love the truth so much that they will learn it and pursue it every way possible?
3. Consuming Love
Not only were the disciples motivated by faith in Jesus and the truth he was sharing. They ended up on this fishing-for-men adventure because of their love for Jesus. Anyone who reads the Gospel of John will see this before they are done the book.
It must have seemed like the party was over, like the last episode or LOST or something after the crucifixion. They went back to what they knew, fishing. But, like other post-resurrection appearances Jesus keeps showing up.
They’re in the boat and Jesus is on the shore cooking. Over breakfast Jesus has his last recorded conversation with Peter. You know it, he asks Peter 3 times do you love me and Peter is hurt that Jesus keeps asking but he is establishing the connection between Peter’s love and Peter’s destiny. –and by the way what was the thrilling adventure that he was calling him toward –taking out Nero with a spear? Of course not! He was saying, Peter if you love me feed my sheep! (He asked a fisherman to be a shepherd! How adventurous!! ) Jn 21:17
I’m sure that for Peter, every time that he was thrown in jail, every time he saw a miracle or baptized thousands, he thought of that very personal chat on the beach. Peter’s crazy life of adventure was nothing he sought but the love for Jesus moved him into some crazy situations!
How can we help students to be so committed in their love to Jesus that it will move them into situations that they never sought or expected?
Seek God and Adventure May Find You
Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that I am a homebody. I haven’t sought adventure but I have done ministry in 5 provinces in Canada and lived in 4 of them. I also studied in Chicago! I lived in Taiwan for half a year. I haven’t sought adventure but I’ve tried to serve God and not back down… even when it scared me (it always scared me!) I dread a lot of things but end up doing them anyway to try to please God.
I bet you have similar experiences! Let’s inspire students to love, believe, and cling to truth rather than talking about adventure. If it’s God’s will, adventure will find them!