There are times in this crazy minister in training world I inhabit that I wake up and declare 'it would be easier if I was still a maths teacher'.Other teachers might argue 'no it's not' - but don't get me wrong, I'm not saying what I am doing now is harder, it's just that it's differently hard for me and affects me in ways I could never imagine. I was the kind of teacher who was able to separate out my maths teacher life and the rest of it. Relaxing, reflecting and getting away was easy. I was efficient. The nature of maths as a subject meant that a lot of the marking and planning could be done on auto pilot - delving deep into the beauty of the subject, but keeping it simple because maths - well - it just is. I was never called to be a maths teacher for ever - throughout my teaching life I knew I was only doing this for a time, that I would need to move on.....
But sometimes I wake up and say 'what if I was still there?'
I've been listening to a sermon preached by Jeff Lucas this morning called 'Breakfast with Jesus' (see video below), that just at the right time challenged that feeling when I woke up this morning and declared to God 'it would be easier if.....'. It was based on the passage at the end of John's gospel where Jesus meets the disciples on the beach and they have breakfast together. Peter and Jesus then have their famous interaction where Jesus challenges him 'Do you love me more than these'.
Peter, the fisherman, who had given it all up to follow Jesus was fishing after Jesus' death. His life as a fisherman was easy. He may have not always got the catch of fish he wanted. He may have worked in the dead of night. But..... it was familiar, autopilot, what he was good at.
"Do you love me more than these...." fish..... maths lessons...... those things I do that make me feel comfortable and efficient and good and.......
Jesus says 'me or the fish?'
Faith or fish?
Jeff Lucas talks about how once you've entered the Kingdom of God you will never be satisfied with just surviving.
If I was still a maths teacher I would survive. I could be mardy when I wanted to be mardy. I could take out my frustrations on the pupils who irritate me (no teacher ever does that, honestly), I could throw a strop with my colleagues and not have them raise their eyebrows at my ridiculouslessness - my 'un-Christian' behaviour, I could go wild (in an introverted, restrained way), I could choose the people who I have in my life and avoid the ones who irritate me.
But I wouldn't be the person who God created and called me to be. I'm not meant to be a maths teacher (some people are, and in serving God in that role, may wake up in the morning and say 'it would be easier if.....') but I'm meant to be living right now this crazy, sometimes mind blowing, life that God has called me to.
Faith or fish?