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TONY ELDER: Take a road trip with Jesus and discover limitless joy

Tony Elder

Tony Elder

Road trip! What kind of a picture does that phrase bring to mind? Maybe you think of a family heading out for a week of fun at the beach. Or if you’re single, you might think of a wild and crazy adventure with several of your best friends.

Whatever the specific situation may be, we tend to envision the concept of a road trip as including some degree of excitement and fun.

What if I told you that I took a road trip recently with three other conservative ministers, two of whom are past retirement age? Some of you might consider the prospect of such a journey to be a nightmare. To be stuck in a car for five hours with such a group would certainly be boring and dull.

Think again. Actually I’ve known some fairly rowdy preachers. Would you believe that before we even had the car loaded, one of those ministers dropped his pants right there in the middle of my driveway? Of course, it wasn’t the pants he was wearing at the time, but rather a pair he was carrying on a hanger.

So maybe our group wasn’t wild and crazy, but it was a very enjoyable trip. I would even describe it as fun as we ministered at a church, fellowshipped together and ate some delicious food.

Some people envision the idea of following Jesus in a similar fashion. They think traveling with Him through life would be too restrictive and dull. Who would be able to have any fun on a road trip with Mr. Pure-and-Holy Himself, as well as the One who will pass final judgment on us one day?

Maybe we should ask His disciples. During those three years of following Jesus when He was on Earth, I don’t think they were bored. As a matter of fact they seemed to enjoy being able to partner with Jesus in healing the sick and casting out evil spirits.

I believe it would’ve been fun to have gone around filling up those baskets with the leftovers after Jesus had miraculously multiplied the bread and fish. How great it must have been to have seen Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead or to have been on that mountain when Jesus began to glow in His heavenly glory.

I’m sure the disciples enjoyed entering Jerusalem with Jesus as the crowds shouted “Hosanna!” And can you imagine being in Peter’s sandals, walking on the water without a board or a paddle? Until he got his eyes on the wind and waves, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was having fun.

However, don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. A life of following Jesus isn’t a constant vacation at the beach. It has its share of agonizing Gethsemanes to endure and painful crosses to bear. And there will always be some Pharisees around ready to criticize us for whatever we do. But it’s not a life void of excitement and fun.

It may not include all the so-called fun in which the world indulges. But neither do you have to suffer through the hangovers, withdrawals, sexually-transmitted diseases, broken relationships and other consequences of such activities. As many of us know all too well, the world’s kind of fun often comes at a steep price.

Don’t resist Jesus’ call to follow Him out of fear of missing out on all the fun in life. Taking a road trip with Jesus can be the most rewarding, exciting and enjoyable experience possible.

So put your trust in Him, begin that journey of discipleship and discover a joy you can’t find any other way.

The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at revtelder@aol.com.