One of my daughters recently completed a questionnaire in which one of the questions was “What is the biggest risk you have ever taken?” When she told me of it and of her answer, I began to think of what my answer might be.
I am not a serious risk taker, to be honest. I am cautious about most things, careful with investments, fairly middle class traditional in the way I approach life. Unlike most drivers I see, I use my turn signal and, unlike some people I know, have never gone sky diving. In other words, I am a mostly dull, keep your feet on the ground kind of guy. Not a big risk taker at all. In fact, other than saying “yes” to a call to ordained ministry and parenting I am not sure I have a good answer to the question.
There is, though, that answering the call of Jesus thing. It can be risky. Following Jesus means going where he goes, hanging out with those whom he hangs out with, and learning to live and love in a way that is, truthfully, somewhat radical in our world. Following Jesus, responding when Jesus calls, can get you into deep water.
Ask Peter. At the invitation of Jesus, he gets outs of the boat and starts walking on water. It’s a risky thing. I’d have stayed with the other eleven. Why get out of a perfectly good boat? Peter does, though, and discovers that as long as he watches Jesus and not the water, he’s fine. It’s when he turns his attention to the sea that he begins to sink.
There are many ways to discuss this story and they’ve all been explored over the years. Jesus rescues us in the storms of life. It’s a parable for the life of faith. We are called to get out of the boat. We are safest when we keep our eyes on Jesus and ignore the storm. And so on. It occurs to me, though, that it may also be about this: Jesus takes the risk to come toward us and seek us out, bringing peace and calm, and invites us to take the risk to come to him as well. To meet him and take his hand.
The story may be found in Matthew’s gospel (Matthew 14:22-33) and it will be read on Sunday. We’ll talk about it together as well as hear a word from Living Waters International and the risky work they do. I hope you’ll risk coming Sunday and meet Jesus where he comes to meet us. See you Sunday.
Until then, be careful out there.
Grace and peace.
PS. As you travel this summer, remember that you can continue to worship with us through the live stream (http://firstcary.com/