So I know this girl. She works in the environmental sciences and always has a fascinating perspective on God and creation. I respected her ideas and encouraged her thoughts during our Sunday Question and Response times. One particular week she asked if she could meet me for a coffee and discuss something that was on her mind. So we made a date for the following Tuesday morning at a Local Coffee shop.
Tuesday morning began like most, hectic. Getting the kids to school, walking the dogs and finishing off my routine sipping a coffee with my wife outside. I was only three sips into my Italian roast when I remembered I was late to my appointment. I dashed out the door and ran down the street. It was only a few blocks away so I thought I would be able to walk and impress my environmentalist friend. As I approached the coffee shop I ran through an intersection where a car was stopped with three young adults inside. It appeared they had run out of gas, or were experiencing mechanical difficulties and were trapped at the light during a busy morning rush. Cars where just zipping around them, and they looked embarrassed as they sat in the middle of it all. I felt embarrassed for them as I ran passed them to finally reach my appointment.
She was waiting but not annoyed, and we purchased our coffee and sat down to talk. Once seated I realized I was in the direct viewing path of the intersection where I could see the car and the Young Adults had still not managed to rectify there situation. As my friend began to speak she told me how much she has loved the new faith community she is apart of and how much her new persecutive is influencing her life. But there was an urgency behind her voice and finally she came right to it. “I don’t want to miss anything” she said. I asked her to explain what she meant. She was so convinced now that she was a believer that everyday mattered, and that God had opportunities all around and she was afraid of missing them and wanted to know what her next steps should be. Years earlier I would have suggested some Christian program of discipleship or small group course, but that was before I had become disillusioned with the Christian Discipleship machine. I had come to realize there are no short cuts to becoming like Jesus-no small group courses, no video curriculum, only…following him. I was both inspired by her enthusiasm and at a loss for an answer to her question…”what’s next”.
It was one of those moments when you can have two conversations going on at the same time, both with someone else and with yourself. The one I was having with myself was regarding the dilemma that sat in a busy intersection 250 meters away. As my friend spoke to me I was looking past her at the answer to her question. I said “do you want to know what is next?”, then follow me-I stood up. She stood up puzzled and said were are we going? “were doing what is next”, I said as I ran out of the coffee shop to the intersection. It was amazing that almost 10 minutes had passed and no one had bothered to stop and help these College kids push their car. The five of us managed to simultaneously stop traffic long enough to push the car through the intersection and bring it to the gas station across the street. They thanked us and we walked back to the donut shop. I looked at my friend and said, thats what is next. We need to appreciate the moments, all of them. To follow Jesus is to realize he is in our life, all of it-trying to show up in the everyday mundane tasks. If we would just stop and appreciate every moment as an opportunity to follow him we would be amazed at the opportunities.
I have worked with Christians for along time and have seen the same patterns emerging. They foolishly think discipleship is a course, or a systematic program to make you more like Jesus. Discipleship happens as we live our lives looking and listening for Jesus in the everyday moments. As we respond, as we make choices to either follow Jesus into the intersections, or the donut shops of our lives we become more like him. You can’t become more like him by learning about him, only by following him. And in his own words, following were the wind blows.