“Who am I that you should be mindful of me, who am I that you should look my way?” – Ps 8.
My journey of faith started with the example of my parents who were always open and passionate about God’s involvement in the lives of people. But like so many of us, I struggled to come to grips with Jesus’ love and grace until much later in my teenage years and even then I didn’t fully understand what it meant to be a disciple of Christ.
I was one of the ‘sport jocks’ during high school and was accepted into the Horizons sporting program where I was given the opportunity to complete my final year (grade 12) over two years, while I trained and used the gym to reach my optimal potential in my chosen sport of volleyball. During these two years I was fortunate to represent my state and my country. But as many sportspeople will tell you, the realm of sport can be a graveyard for spirituality and allegiance to the Lord. All the time you are told to focus your energy on yourself. Become bigger, faster, stronger otherwise you won’t make it. You become your own god.
It is precisely because of this attitude and the influence of friends who also adopted this outlook, that my following in the footsteps of the Rabbi became more of a ‘lounge by the pool sipping Margaritas’ scenario. I made bad choices, followed worldly teachings, and disappointed many people including those parents who showed me God’s love all those years before.
Leaving school, God brought me into a furnace situation, where intense refining took place. I was a builder’s labourer for 2 years part-time where I sweated (and sometimes bled) litres upon litres! I can’t tell you how many cubic metres of dirt I shovelled. But during this time I was able to work shoulder-to-shoulder with a man who had a burning passion for Jesus and shared it with anyone who was within earshot. He inspired me to think to myself “if he is willing to sacrifice popularity and be dubbed a ‘freak’ for sharing the Gospel, he must actually believe it is the real deal”. From there on Jesus Christ showed me many things about life, love, and happiness, all of them pointing me back to Him.
I couldn’t ignore it any longer. His call and his searching was too much and I realised I had to leave my lounge chair by the pool and follow Him more fully. The God of creation was intensely interested in me, cared about me and was calling me to make a difference in a world that needs hope. This is the reason why today I am a follower of Jesus, not walking behind Him, but running after Him; not content with the teaching that I am my own god anymore, but satisfying myself with the fact that I belong body and soul to my faithful Lord, Jesus Christ.