ODJ: rough waters

June 16, 2014 

READ: Matthew 8:18-22 

Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head” (v.20).

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 would-be followers knew that being His disciples was not going to be comfortable and easy (v.20). If they followed Jesus, Jesus informed them that his ministry would lead to rough waters. The religious teacher in these verses needed to know that if he wanted to be Jesus’ disciple, then 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 (v.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 towards the rough waters—pouring our lives into people. What will it look like for you to follow Him there?
—Marvin Williams

365-day plan› John 1:19-34

Read Luke 14:25-33 and consider what Jesus said will be required of His true disciples. 
When are you tempted to head towards the stagnant waters of life? What’s one thing you can do today in the rough waters of living for Jesus?