For Christmas this year we gave our kids the gifts of our time and presence. We gave each child a gift certificate for an outing and our undivided attention. Justice and I already took ours. We had a day at the ranch with Justice’s uncle. I had titled the gift "an adventure" since we were going to let Justice drive the Kawasaki Mule and explore the ranch.
As we were all eating breakfast at the Oldwest Café, Uncle Steve said, “You know it isn’t an adventure unless someone gets stuck, something breaks, or someone gets stitches.” I am thinking to myself: Oh God, please don’t let anyone need stitches, but in truth I didn’t want any of those things to happen—I just wanted Justice to have fun playing on the Mule and maybe drive the tractor. I wanted us be out in nature with no electronics for a whole day.
Well, Uncle Steve didn’t disappoint. We accomplished two of the three criteria for an adventure by mid-afternoon. We got two different vehicles stuck in the mud, and in the process of pulling one of the vehicles out, the tractor broke down. By nightfall, we had fixed the tractor, and with some help from a friend, got both vehicles un-stuck.
Some of the greatest adventures of my life have come without warning or wanting. I would have missed out on many of my adventures if it hadn’t been for my children, my wife, my friends, my youth group, and my family. My adventures occurred because of my relationships—and because I made time for those relationships. The same could be said about my personal relationship with Jesus.
My personal desire to follow Jesus has led me into many adventures without warning or wanting. In Bible study, on mission trips, volunteering at summer camp, teaching Sunday school, and saying yes to full-time ministry, I have had adventures! I’ve broken down in the middle of I-10 between El Paso and Odessa; I’ve taken kids from camp to the ER at 2:00 a.m.; I’ve gotten stuck trying to understand the Bible and God’s grace and love. Discipleship – following Jesus, loving God and neighbor – is an adventure. I truly never know what is going to happen next.
I had no clue how much fun Justice and I would have on our day at the ranch. I don’t know how that adventure will impact his life 20 or 30 years from now, but I do know he had so much fun he couldn’t wait to tell his sister about it (and anyone else who would listen). And now his sister wants to go to the ranch (yee haw!).
Are you looking for some adventure? Have you had an adventure with Jesus? Have you shared that story with anyone lately? Has Jesus gotten you stuck? Has Jesus been with you when something broke? Have you gotten hurt following Jesus? Following Jesus is an adventure, and it comes with risks, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I look forward to seeing you in worship as we continue our sermon series: Half Truths.