By Justin Rossow
Our mailbox is 0.7 miles from our front door. It used to be 7 feet. Since our last move, getting the mail has become more than a household chore; it’s now an epic adventure!
On a recent Saturday, I asked my 12-year-old son to go get the mail. The preteen said he would, but after an hour, it still hadn’t happened. So I asked again.
But the schedule of a 6th-grade boy is pretty booked on a Saturday midmorning; you have to watch YouTube, and play Nintendo, and go for a PR on your speed cube, and practice the latest yo-yo moves, and spend quality time not putting away your socks and underwear. I get it. Kids these days are busy.
After another few mail-less hours, I was getting slightly perturbed. A few threats and ultimatums suggested themselves for consideration.
In the end, I took a different angle. I got the boy out of his room and told him it was past time to make the epic mail trek. And then I said, “You go; and I’ll walk with you.”
So we went. Together. I didn’t want to just let him off the hook, but I also wanted to help him get the job done. What I discovered was better than anything I had planned.
He took a rubber ball that we threw back and forth. We made a competition out of how many bounces we could get off of the dirt road and still complete a pass. We laughed. We talked about school and homework and sports (but not girls). We raced to the mailbox. We put the junk mail in recycling (it was all junk mail) and then headed home.
I didn’t want to get the mail. My son didn’t want to get the mail. We did it together, and it was fun.
Maybe a leadership lesson is hiding in that simple scene, something about inviting people along to do the thing they are supposed to be doing anyway. But afterward, I couldn’t help thinking of the Great Commission.
All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me.
Go, therefore, and as you go, disciple the nations,
baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son, and Spirit,
and teaching them to observe all I have commanded you.
And look! I am with you always, even to the End of the Age.
Jesus basically says, “You go; and I’ll walk with you.”
Living out your faith, even taking a small next step, can feel daunting. What used to be 7 feet now feels like 70 miles. But when faith and following feels like high challenge, remember that you also have high invitation.
Jesus says to you, “You go; and I’ll walk with you.”
When you have to ask your spouse for forgiveness. When you invite your neighbor over for dinner. When you recommit, again, to reading your Bible. When you walk into what feels like a hostile workplace. When you are invited to pray in a hospital, and you don’t know everyone in the room. When you dare to speak a word of comfort to someone who is hurting. When you are trying to figure out how to parent your kids. Every time you are faced with a next step in this adventure of discipleship, Jesus says to you, “You go; and I’ll walk with you.”
And that’s the best part.
Even if you put it off as long as possible, and junk mail is the only thing you find in the mailbox, walking with Jesus is the best part of any next step.
You can talk with him about your homework and what you are learning and what you are struggling with. You can talk with him about your faith and your friends and your relationships (and even girls). You’ll find that Jesus can be playful, and that he likes to laugh. But mostly you’ll discover that what you thought was a spiritual chore turned out to be time with someone who knows you and loves you and is there for you. Always.
“You go,” Jesus says, “And I’ll walk with you.”