Where will God send you?

Published 8:56 pm Monday, June 12, 2017

Do you have plans for the rest of your life? Would you like to travel to Mars? Do you think those are silly questions? Then you don’t know about Mars One; they are planning a “permanent human settlement” on Mars. If you are interested, you can donate to Mars One, buy stock in Mars One Ventures through the Frankfort Stock Exchange (the company is valued at $389,000,000), and/or you can apply to go with the four man team to Mars! (mars-one.com)

The astronaut selection process started in 2013 and is now closed to new applicants. There might be a few available slots if someone drops out of the program or is unable to continue. There are five requirements for applicants; resiliency, adaptability, curiosity, ability to trust, and creativity/resourcefulness. Finally, you’ll be assigned to one of six four-man teams in training.

Then, as I was reading about Mars One, it struck me that Jesus used similar criteria and a similar process to select his disciples. It was a permanent selection; there is no plan for a return trip from Mars. And it would take a very special sort of person to walk away from everything and follow Jesus (or go to Mars). Mars One started with an application and testing process; Jesus started with a fishing trip  and a testing process… two boats filled with fish.

When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed. Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.” (Luke 5:1-11)

Leaving everything you’ve known all your life and walking away with Jesus must have been like being asked to travel to Mars. The twelve disciples left their jobs and their families and their friends and their homes to follow Jesus. What kinds of men would do it? And what must they have seen in Jesus to make them want to do it? Would you have done it? Would you do it now?

Pastor’s viewpoint is written by Charles ‘Buddy’ Whatley, a retired United Methodist pastor serving Woodland & Bold Springs UMC and, with Mary Ella, a missionary to the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.