As a relationship progresses—and this makes sense—either the level of investment deepens or the relationship stagnates. As it moves forward, we choose either to wade in deeper and have more to lose or we stick around the shallow end and never risk anything.
Now, I’m not very good at letting the investment deepen in stride with the relationship. Instead, I’m always looking out ahead, aware of how far and how deep this will have to go. That depth, that investment is also like a weight that gets heavier. Of course, over time with exercise, a relationship gets stronger, strong enough to bear that weight. But me, I’m not good at letting that work out happen first. Instead, I expect that I should be able to lift that weight immediately, right at the beginning. I mean that’s where it’s headed anyways, so why wait for it? Fail. That’s my own issue, I know.
The same is true with relating to Jesus. He called Peter to leave his day job. Okay, that’s pretty easy. Then he called Peter to walk on water. Not so easy, but the relationship was strong enough if only for a moment that Peter climbed over the starboard. Then Jesus called Peter to stay awake. Seemed easy but unimportant, and Peter thought he was strong enough. Fail. Then Jesus called Peter to love him and care for his followers. This time Peter didn’t assume anything; he committed and stuck with it. Then Jesus called Peter to die for it all.
If Peter had known when he quit his job, that following Jesus would eventually cost him his life, do you think Peter would’ve followed Jesus to begin with? It’s hard to say, but I doubt it. Peter’s trust simply wasn’t there when he set out. It built up over time. And over time, Peter took bigger steps, placed more trust, and made bigger sacrifices. With time Peter’s faith got stronger and his commitment went deeper.
Peter wasn’t the kind of guy to give things much forethought. He was pretty impulsive and took hold of whatever was in front of him. I’m not like that, but I need to be a little bit more. Far out there, I know Jesus requires more commitment than I’ve given him this far. Far out there, I know it should consume my life. Far out there, I know maybe my faith is big and strong, but that’s not where it is right now.
And that’s okay. Those final costs, the big commitments come later. For now I need to get a little bit stronger today and go a little bit farther tomorrow. I need to get a little bit deeper and be a little more faithful. Then when it comes time to take a leap of faith, my legs will be ready and it will feel like just another step.