Are You on an Adventure?
April 25, 2015
by Rich Nelson
“After this he went out and saw a tax-collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up, left everything, and followed him.” (from Luke 5:27-39)
Adventure. That’s what life is supposed to feel like. That’s surely what life must have felt like the day Levi got up and left everything to follow Jesus. Does your life feel like an adventure? Maybe. But if it doesn’t, you’re not alone. Too many of us feel like life is a mere exercise in survival. And worse yet, our faith too often feels like a strict, GPS-like, path. Go here. Don’t go there. Do this. Don’t do that. Turn left in 100 feet. Turn here. What, was that the turn? I thought it was the next one!? DANG! Rerouting.
We use the Bible this way. We ask our pastors to serve this role. We expect prayer to work this way. We just want someone to tell us what to do and we’ll do it. God instead wants us to go on an adventure. When Jesus sent his disciples out on their first missionary adventure, he told them, “Take nothing for the journey–no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.” In other words: no map, no GPS. Trust God to guide you. That’s all. Now, go enjoy the adventure.
For years now I have been creating a small-group discipleship resource people and leading on a quest to realize more profoundly what it looks like for them to respond to Jesus’ invitation to “Follow me.” I’ve led groups of adults, youth, and even clergy through this process. At the end of every journey, someone always comments that they never thought they would be this honest about their life with a group of other people. This shouldn’t be the exception in the church. This should be the norm.
Jesus’ invitation is to adventure of radical departure from our regular routine. But it can be dangerous to go on adventures alone. Notice how Jesus’ invitation to discipleship is always in the context of an invitation to join a small group of other people who are on the same discipleship journey. And when he sends them out in mission, he sends them out in pairs.
If you life feels mundane and lonely, know that it isn’t the kind of life Jesus intends for those who follow his way.
Do you belong to a small group of people who meet regularly to discuss life and faith? If not, start inviting a group of your friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. to commit to meet on a regular basis to support one another in your faith journeys. Find a good resource that will assist you in going deeper together, discussing the real issues of your life, and strengthening one another for the journey.
Beautifully said, Rich! Thank you for reminding us that part of the adventure is being on the adventure with a group of folks there with us, ready to enjoy the same 🙂 thanks for having been part of my group of adventures along the way 🙂
Do you have a recommendation for a resource to use in group discussions? My group is looking for a book for our summer journey.
Forward Movement has some great books that work for small groups (yes, a shameless plug). You can also check out Rich’s Following the Way, a program that works for both individuals and small groups at http://www.revrichnelson.com.
Rich thank you for these words. I have always leaned towards wanting adventure. You mentioned you have developed resources for small groups to go on this adventure together. Can you let me know what they are and/or if you have so developed them that they can be used by others.
The small group adventure sounds just like what I’ve been looking for. Is it published?
You can check out Rich’s Following the Way program at http://www.revrichnelson.com.