‘After this, he said […], “Follow me.”’
And so ends this weekend’s Gospel passage, taken from John 21. By this time, Jesus has already been resurrected, appeared, now for the third time to the disciples and soon, he will be leaving them. What’s interesting in this exchange, is that there is no record, neither here, nor in the other gospel accounts of where Jesus was taking Peter. Of note is that this instruction is given after a final test, as it were, to which the disciples had been subjected without them even knowing while they were returning from an unsuccessful fishing trip.
- In this encounter, when they were told to cast the net to the right of the boat, they did as they were instructed, without question. This counters the experience at the beginning of Luke’s account of the call of the first disciples (Luke 5).
- They readily identified the Risen Lord. Remember, just a couple of weeks ago, they were dismissing the account of the women as an ‘idle tale’ (Luke 24:11), and just last week, Thomas doubted and had to stick his finger in the wounds of Jesus to be assured that he was indeed beholding ‘[His] Lord and [his] God’ (John 20:28).
- They lost no fish, even though the nets were laden. This, again, is unlike their experience as recorded by Luke in Luke 5 when their nets were beginning to break, such was the size of the catch.
- They didn’t need to know where He was taking them or where He was staying, again contrasting their novice’s curiosity in John 1).
If we’re to be guided by these four observations, we can safely say that the disciples passed this test. Finally! On several occasions, they were scolded for their little faith or for still not getting it. Now, they were being given the nod, as Jesus quite coolly beckons, ‘Follow me’. Thankfully, now the scales have fallen from their eyes and they were made to see. Finally, after all that they had been through with the Master, they were ready to be sent out.
There will be moments on the purpose journey when you will be tested before being sent on a mission. These tests will be easier to pass. You see, at this stage, the lesson has already been learnt and you are more than ready for the mission. However, the Master needs to give you one last test for you to note yourself that you will succeed. This is not about the Master assessing you. No. This is about the Master proving to you that you are ready, so that when you do go out on your mission, you go out in the strength of the Lord, confident that you can do all things through Christ.
So, is this the end of the journey? You’ve fulfilled your purpose and…punto final? My friends, not at all. De party now start! This is just another leg of the journey towards purpose. Perhaps it would be opportune for me to point out that purpose is fulfilled only at the end of one’s days. You see, the purpose journey is a lifelong one. So, you might ask, is all of this ‘purpose-journey’ talk unnecessary if it’s only completed at the end of one’s days? My friends, call this ‘talk’ a map that helps you to navigate your way towards your purpose.
Let me reflect a bit with you: in October 2020, I published a piece entitled, ‘Do You Know Where You’re Going To?‘ In that piece, I shared that I didn’t know where I was going, that I was about to step into the unknown, a place I didn’t relish, but a place I recognised as necessary on the road to purpose. I concluded in part:
My assurance is this: the unknown doesn’t last forever and, with each step I take during this period, I am one step closer to fulfilling my purpose, and that is known. My commitment is this: ‘forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize’.
I share this with you so that you appreciate that the unknown, the uncertainty, the fear, the pain, the anguish and the list of unbearable emotions and conditions are bumps, potholes, and ditches along the way to purpose. Emerging from them allows you to build the strength required for completing your purpose journey with a sense of fulfilment.
What does it take to move past the bumps, and emerge from the potholes and ditches along the way? It takes HEWing. It takes HEWing so that the beauty of who you were created to be can shine. It takes HEWing so that you can be stripped, shaved and separated from the career/purpose-stalling behaviours, mindsets, attitudes and words that sometimes land you in the ditches in the first place.
HEWing is painful, but it is worth every moment of it if you reverently submit yourself in patient endurance to the work of the Potter as you moulded into the beautiful creature you were meant to be – beauty that the years of wrong decisions, careless actions, bad habits and self-destructive words can often bury.
HEWing requires you to allay your fears, be still and concentrate so that you can enter the unknown and listen to the guidance of the One who is the Way and who will lead you from the dark into the light. HEWing requires you to embrace the uncomfortable for that, in itself, is the beginning of the test. HEWing is the preparation for the journey towards the greater part of your days, understanding ‘the greater part of [your] days’ to mean the more impactful and significant part of one’s days, as I shared in my piece entitled, ‘Jah Give I Strength‘.
HEWing prepares you for purpose. At the end of it or a cycle of HEWing, you will be held up before the mirror as the disciples were as I shared at the beginning so that you might be convinced that you have been well prepared and are set for your next mission, your next mission as you fulfil your purpose.
As I close, I pray that you, too, will hear the approving words, ‘Follow me’.
Until next time,
Leave a Reply