During my junior year of college, my roommate and I decided to join the University of Georgia rugby team. When we showed up for the first practice we knew nothing about the game but were told rugby players are known for two things: drinking and fighting. One problem I’ve never been interested in fighting or drinking. I decided to pick the lesser of two evils…fighting.
From the outside, rugby can best be described as a mix between football and soccer. It is supposed to be a gentleman’s game. You are not trying to hurt your opponent, merely wrap them up and bring them to the ground. Try to explain this concept to some rednecks from South Georgia. I can vividly remember practicing for a week before traveling to the University of South Carolina for our first game. When we arrived in Columbia, my roommate and I had no idea what we were supposed to do. We didn’t even understand all of the rules.
At the start of the second half our coach put the two of us into the game. I received a kick on my very first play and start running like crazy towards my opponent’s end of the field. Next thing I know I’m peeling myself off the sideline trying to gather my senses. Apparently, I had been fouled by the other team but I had no idea what that meant. Here is another interesting point: after a penalty your team is given a better opportunity to take possession of the ball; that’s it.
On the next play, a huge individual named Hog came barreling down the field straight towards me. I must say, I wrapped up this large individual with the intent of bringing him to the ground. I was determined not to let this man child score. After he passed the ball to his teammate, he politely tapped me on the shoulders and ask me to let him go.
I can’t remember if we won or lost that first game. I can’t remember if I even played a good game. I just remember my roommate and I struggling to get back to our hotel room that night. We were lying on our beds bleeding from places I didn’t even know existed. I looked over to my roommate and asked, “What just happened?” Chris looked at me, “I don’t know, but I loved it.”
I imagine Jesus’ disciples experienced some of these same emotions. From the beginning of their ministry, Jesus had been captain of the ship. He made all of the decisions and they had been happy to row the boat. Then Jesus sent them into the world to share his message. I'm sure they begged Jesus, “Wait we don’t know what we are doing. We could get killed out there.” I bet there were some nights during their ministry where the disciples just laid in bed and counted their bruises. That felt unprepared and ill-equipped, but they believed there was a plan.
My Point: You have to get in the water before you can learn to swim.