God’s invitations are often unexpected.
We are raised to have game-plans in life; by the time we reach high-school, we are told that if we are not mindful about what classes and extra-curricular activities we choose, it could impact our future. Many go on to map out college, jobs, relationships, and milestones to ensure they land where they want to land. In a reality where so much is beyond our control and understanding, this is a daunting — perhaps impossible — task, yet we persist in trying to control our lives.
Christ disrupts that.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34
When we begin to follow Christ, we have this hope, or even expectation, that he will make our lives better, that he will bring peace. When things fail to go as planned, or hardship hits, we question his invitations or even his goodness, because we know how things are supposed to be, and this is not it.
It’s not that Jesus doesn’t care about our plans: it’s that he cares about something greater.
“I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.” John 10:10
Jesus said this to people who already had life… so what was he offering? He was offering true life, full life, one that could be experienced in abundance. As Ephesians 3:20 puts it, “immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.” In other words, Jesus sees our plans, and says, “That’s nice… I want to give you something better.”
Christ gave invitations that disrupted the lives of the disciples, yet by the end they rejoiced in the abundant lives that replaced the old, even when it led to martyrdom. God disrupted the lives of many throughout scripture when He gave unexpected, impossible invitations; yet, many of them also came to discover that God had immeasurably more in mind.
Perhaps God has extended an unexpected invitation to you, one that seems capable of disrupting your plans and hopes. Jesus saw this concern within his followers, which is why he invited them into the impossible in Luke 14:25-33: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” It is an unexpected, impossible invitation, and Jesus acknowledged this by describing how we usually make decisions: if you don’t have enough money you don’t build the tower, and if you don’t have enough soldiers you don’t go to war.
Jesus knew his invitation would cost too much… and so he concludes, “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.“
You may feel God’s invitation to you is too costly, and you may be right. Here is the good news: you were never meant to accept the invitation alone. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,” (John 14:16) Jesus knew that the Helper could do the impossible with any invitation. The Helper could provide the builder the resources to build the tower, like God provided for Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem; the Helper could give the king victory in the war, as God did in impossible battles throughout the Old Testament.
The Helper is ready to equip you for your unexpected invitation today; you simply need to be willing to count the cost, and accept the invitation even if it is too much.
Raju and other leaders have accepted unexpected invitations from God to step into interim leadership as we enter 2024; meet Raju and hear his story in the video above.