Lately, I feel like I’ve been in a rut – personally, spiritually, professionally, you name it. When I get in a rut, I usually look to my prayer life to find ways to turn things around. I realized that I wasn’t praying with Scripture and decided to meditate on the Gospels.
The other week I was reviewing the Gospel of John, and while reading I saw a line that I had read before but had never really taken the time to comprehend:
“John [the Baptist] was standing with two of his disciples; and he looked at Jesus as he walked and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus” (John 1:35-37).
Now hold up. Two of Jesus’ disciples were disciples of John BEFORE they were disciples of Jesus. I guess they had a lot of discipleship experience! I had never thought about this or comprehended what this would have meant.
To be a true disciple, the disciples followed their teacher everywhere. They saw how their teacher lived, prayed and preached. If the teacher taught in a certain way, the disciples learned to do the same. If the teacher wore certain clothing, the disciples wore this too. If the teacher… well, you get the point. The application here is huge.
John the Baptist wore camel hair and lived on locusts and wild honey. Though we don’t know for sure, these disciples probably wore camel hair and lived on locusts and wild honey.
These disciples (Andrew and probably John the Evangelist) were living a pretty rigorous and intense spiritual life with John the Baptist. (I personally think I would have stopped following with the locust diet.) But their teacher let them know that there was something greater in Jesus. So, they left John the Baptist and followed Him.
They answered the call to leave something good to follow something greater.
This summer has been a landmark time for me and my walk with Jesus. In some ways, I feel a bit like the disciples who followed John the Baptist. I’m doing good things: I’m a Catholic missionary. I try to be a good husband and father. I give back to my community with my time and efforts to evangelize.
But at the same time, I feel called to be something more. I realized that, over time, I can be caught up in good things, but I fail to follow Jesus as much as I can. I can settle for the mediocrity of doing well while not seeking true greatness.
I don’t know where you are at right now, but when you find yourself in this place where you know you need something more, it can be difficult to know what to do. Let’s look back at the Gospel of John for an answer that helped me.
In the Gospels, the disciples can say some pretty silly things (see John 14:8; Matthew 16:22). But here, after the disciples depart from John the Baptist, they nail it with one question:
“Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, ‘What do you seek?’ And they said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and see’” (John 1:38-39).
The disciples aren’t sure what to do — but they do know that staying with Jesus is the best first step.
When we find ourselves in ruts — or when we find ourselves needing to be greater than we are right now — then the best direction for us to turn is toward Jesus. We don’t have to have all of the answers. We don’t need to have a perfect three-step plan. But we do need to re-encounter Him. We need to follow Him. We need to stay with Him.
Where is God in your life right now? Are you seeking to find Him? To be with Him? Are you willing to leave even the good stuff for something greater?
Don’t hesitate to take action. Go and follow Him!
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