rough waters

Copied from Our Daily Journey With God on June 16, 2014.

Palmer Chinchen, author of True Religion, tells of the time when he went whitewater rafting down the Zambezi River. As he and his brothers were preparing to make their way down the watery roller coaster, the guide gave them some very helpful advice: “When—not if—the raft flips, stay in the rough water. You’ll be tempted to swim toward the stagnant water at the edge of the banks. Don’t do it, because it is in the stagnant water that the crocs wait for you. They are large and hungry. So when the raft flips, stay in the rough water.”

In everyday life, stagnancy can kill your spirit. When Jesus was calling people to follow Him, He wanted disciples who would resist the urge and temptation to swim and live in “stagnant waters.”

Jesus outlined his expectations for rough-water discipleship: sacrifice and total allegiance (Matthew 8:18-20). He made sure that a would-be follower knew that being His disciple was not going to be comfortable and easy (Matthew 8:20). If he followed Jesus, Jesus informed him that his ministry would lead to rough waters. If this man wanted to be a disciple, he was committing himself to experience waves of suffering and even death. Jesus was telling him to stay in the rough waters of discipleship and out of the stagnant waters of ease, for the stagnant waters would lead to spiritual death and defeat (Matthew 8:22).

Jesus is still looking for followers who will commit to swimming and living in the rough waters of sacrificial discipleship. He doesn’t need us in the comfortable pews of our churches; He needs us paddling toward the rough waters—pouring our lives into people. What will it look like for you to follow Him there?