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John Grant: Every adventure begins with yes

John Grant • Updated Oct 14, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Every adventure begins with yes. Perhaps it is a reluctant yes like Bilbo Baggins. Or a naive yes like Luke Skywalker. Or even a confused yes like Harry Potter. Epic journeys begin with a courageous first step. 

Wouldn’t it be exciting if we experienced life as an epic journey with God?

With a twinkle in his eye, God invites us to follow. He delights when people say yes, because he made us to be courageous. Something stirs in our souls when we see a friend taking a step of faith; perhaps that stirring is part of the image of God within us.

In the Compassionate Hands homeless ministry, it has been amazing to watch God provide when someone – just one person – says yes. There are churches with less than 50 members who have opened their buildings to homeless guests once a week for five straight winters. All it took was one person who said, “Yes, we can do it because God is with us.” When one person found the courage to say yes, the volunteers and resources followed. 

So imagine God showing up in your world with an invitation. Such invitations are common in scripture – Moses at the burning bush, Isaiah seeing the gigantic Lord in the Temple, angels appearing to Gideon and Mary, or Esther sensing that she had to speak. 

We might dismiss such moments as being “back in the Bible days,” when God was preparing the world for Christ. Or perhaps we expect God’s next move to be in the distant future, when we see Jesus face to face. 

Seeing God’s invitations as limited to the past or the future is a sly way of avoiding God’s unsettling call today. We never have to say yes if we assume the question does not apply to us. But our lives and our faith will lose vitality if we never say yes. Too many Christians avoid risks and merely endure life, awaiting eternal blessings “in the sweet by and by.” What a boring existence.

There are risks in accepting God’s call and leaving the familiar. The journey will be long and taxing, and you might fail. On the other hand, there is the promise that God will provide what we need (Matthew 6:33). And there are fantastic rewards when we say yes. 

God calls us to abundant, joyful lives, here and now. He calls through gentle nudges, such as an opportunity to help someone or a new insight or an idea for a way to serve. Sometimes he calls when we are praying or being quiet in his presence. God often calls through scripture if we pay attention. Consider the call in Luke 10.

A traveler was robbed and beaten and left on the roadside, and two religious leaders bypassed him. Then a despised rival stopped to help. He bandaged the man’s wounds and carried him to a nearby inn, where he paid the innkeeper for two days’ labor and promised to pay more if needed. 

This story is one of Jesus’ most beloved because we identify as wounded and needing rescue. Then a trusted friend let you down. Out of the blue, a stranger helped in a surprising way. Or maybe we identify with the call to help strangers in need, and on our best days we follow the Samaritan’s example. 

Don’t overlook the other person in the story – the innkeeper. Imagine Jesus coming to you with a person who is wounded. He asks you to care for the stranger, and he gives you the resources you need. If you need more, he promises to provide. 

For Compassionate Hands, the innkeeper presents a powerful invitation. Our logo is the two coins from Luke 10:35 because we see God bringing wounded strangers and asking us to care for them. We have seen how God has provided over the last five years, so we are confident that he will provide for all our future needs. 

What is God’s invitation in your life today? The adventure begins with yes.

After 13 years on staff with College Hills Church of Christ, John Grant began service as a minister with Compassionate Hands homeless shelters in October. Learn more at compassionatehandstn.org. Preacher’s Corner features a new local preacher writing a column each month.

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