Water skiing and I don’t really mix. I remember drinking what seemed like countless gallons of lake water before I managed my first brief run on double skis. Although I have spent untold hours snow skiing, those skills don’t seem to translate to the water. My attempts on a single ski were nothing short of calamitous. Why is it that others could so easily glide across the waves while I was stuck sucking wake water? The problem with my water skiing attempts was that I was trying to teach myself. This never was the model for making disciples though.
When Jesus told Simon Peter and Andrew that he would make them fishers of men, he didn’t send them out immediately. Instead, they trained with Him, watching and learning from Him every day. Eventually they were sent out to proclaim the message of the kingdom of God. Peter was even able to briefly walk on top of the waves without skis during his time with Jesus.
There are two things that are noteworthy about the disciples call by Jesus. First, none of them had ever preached, or shared a testimony, or proclaimed the gospel before. Jesus chose people who had zero experience doing what he was calling them to do. However, Jesus, the master Rabbi was capable of training and equipping them for the task. Second, at least in the case of Peter and Andrew, the disciples responded immediately. There were no second thoughts. They dropped their nets and followed Jesus. I believe their response was motivated by more than just excitement over being called – but rather a deep belief that the Rabbi who called them was also able to train them to succeed.
In some ways, our Czech mission team is much like the disciples. None of us ever served in the Czech Republic before our first time here. Just like them, we had zero experience in the task. Likewise, being certain of the call, we also trust in Jesus to equip us to succeed. For us, part of this training has come from Josiah Venture over these past two days. The remaining training, I believe will come from God as we follow His leading throughout the camp. Whether or not we end up sucking wake water or gliding across the waves has a lot to do with how well we keep our eyes on Jesus.
At the culmination of our training session tonight, each of the teams was commissioned for the work ahead of them. We gathered in the middle of a great circle and received prayers for the success of our mission. Likewise, we had the opportunity to pray for each of the other teams. It was an important moment – a turning point. Tomorrow we will go our separate ways, each to different camps. We won’t see each other again (if at all) until after our camps are over.
I pray that as we go our separate ways that God will grant each team the confidence that comes only from following the Jesus, the Master Rabbi, and grant us peace in knowing that our struggles are all “Part of the Plan”.