Smarter Than a Seventh Grader?
By Fr. Greg Methvin | September 4, 2019
Few of us would point to our middle school years as being the high mark of our maturity. Nothing says awkward like a squeaky-voiced seventh grader, riding the waves of growth spurts and emotional outbursts. But for me, one of the most significant spiritual insights I ever made happened as a seventh grader. I couldn’t figure out how to start a conversation with an attractive girl, but I DID discover what kind of relationship Jesus wanted to have with me. He wanted me to be his Disciple.
I didn’t think I was some special 13th disciple, or that I had some divine invitation to be a spiritual superstar. But it dawned on me during church beach camp that Jesus wanted to be more than my Sunday friend or Heavenly Landlord when I died. He wanted to be the leader of every area of my life, every day for eternity. He promised to lead me to the best life possible, and all I needed to do was follow where he led. As a clueless seventh grader, I accepted His offer.
So I stopped being a football player and became a disciple who played football. I stopped being a smart-aleck son and became a disciple of Jesus with irritating parents. I stopped being an introverted student and started walking with Jesus to class, down the crowded hallways, and past girls I didn’t have the nerve to talk to anyway. Jesus came along for all of it, and in most cases, made things better.
What I soon realized was that Jesus planned for more than the two of us pal-ling around for the rest of my life. He connected me to other people pursuing a disciple life too. Every Tuesday evening for 3 years, I would gather with four other disciples my age to study and memorize the Bible, encourage each other and learn from each other’s example on how to follow Jesus.
It didn’t happen all at once, but over time, things began to change in my life for the better. Jesus didn’t give me special powers to impress my classmates, but he began to shape my character that began to draw some attention. “Methvin! Why do you always seem happy? Why don’t you cuss? Why are you so…different?” Well, Jesus is not to blame for all of that last question, but I found a power to change, love others, and find my way through tough decisions…because I was a disciple of Jesus.
Over the next months, our 3D Faith series will place us in front of Jesus, so you too can hear his invitation to be his Disciple. He will tell us what it really means to live a “blessed” life, and how to know you are in step with his best plans. If I only had one sermon series to preach, it would be this one. Because I discovered in seventh grade what kind of relationship Jesus wanted to have with me, and saying “Yes” to his invitation has led to an adventure that my middle school mind never could have imagined. Won’t you join me?