The first thing Jesus says is not ‘Believe’ – but ‘Follow!’

For two years at school I was forced to do Latin. I was just told to do it.

No one sat me down and told me that it was a beautiful language, it would really help me master my grammar and help me to learn other languages. I was just told to get on with it. And not being in much of a position to argue, I did.

And I’m glad I did. Because, by the time I got into my GCSE year and started to study Roman literature, I was really loving it.

Just by getting on with it – going on the journey – I had found the value in it. And I don’t think anyone would have been able to convince me of this at the outset of the journey.

And so it is with faith.

Often it is only by plunging in and giving something a go that we come to understand it and see its value.

I remember a Church friend telling me I really should start saying Grace before meals with my family. This was at a time in my spiritual journey when I barely believed God existed. But I decided I would give it a go. It would be no bad thing for the children to be in a habit that might make them more thankful.

So I started saying Grace. And it wasn’t nearly as difficult or embarrassing as I’d expected. The children and my husband were a bit surprised at first. But they soon got into it and there would sometimes be a bit of a squabble as to whose turn it was to say the prayer.

Even though, at first, none of us really knew why we doing it, we all soon began to appreciate the habit. It was making us more thankful. It was making us pause and not take our blessings for granted. We found ourselves saying thanks not just for the food, but for each other and for the many good things in life. And sometimes praying for help when there were problems and worries.

I hadn’t at the outset understood the value of saying Grace. I don’t think anyone could have convinced me it was a good thing to do. But by giving it a go I really came to know what an important thing it is to do.

When Jesus went down to the shore of Lake Galilee two thousand years ago and called his first disciples, he could have sat them down and explained who he was and what his mission in life was. Maybe they would have understood and been inspired. But I doubt it. I think they would have been baffled and probably a bit terrified.

But Jesus says simply, ‘Follow me.’ Come on an adventure. Come with me – and I’ll show you how to live a life worth living. It won’t necessarily be the easiest or the safest life – but it will be the most wonderful life you could possibly live.

The invitation is still there today.

To follow Christ. To go on an adventure with him. To dare to plunge in and see what happens next – not understanding everything but trying to make sense of things along the way.

So, find a Church. And there you’ll find a motley band of pilgrims to travel with you on your journey.

Or come on our weekend away in April if you can. It’s called Holy Daring and is all about using artwork, poetry and Bible-based prayer to explore what it looks like to take up the adventure of following Christ. For more info see here.

Don’t wait to be convinced. Faith is something you will only really understand and value - by going on the journey.

Posted by Martine Oborne