Called to Follow

We follow directions, polls, trends, and examples. We follow the crowd, news stories, and twitter feeds. We play “follow the leader”…but our choice of leader determines the course of our journey. Following anyone else implies that we are not in charge.

Jesus knows our propensity to follow whatever has our immediate attention. He did not announce his divinity and demand that those who support him meet certain criteria. He didn’t command us to accomplish specific tasks and report back to him. He has never required hurting, wounded people to find him; he has always gone to them. And when they recognize him, he consistently tells them, “Follow Me”.

Place matters. Sometimes Jesus’ instructions are to stay in the place where you are and follow his example to make that place different. Sometimes Jesus’ instructions are to follow him to a new place. But always his command is to come into his presence….no matter what place we are in. He never promises that following him will be easy, but he does promise that he will go before us and prepare the place for us. He may lead us through trial or persecution, but he will always lead us to rest, to righteousness, to understanding and into the very presence of God.

Eastern shepherds lead their sheep. The sheep know their voice and mingled flocks will separate as they hear their shepherd’s voice calling. Jesus described himself as “the Good Shepherd”. Shepherds protect and provide for their sheep. They know their sheep by name. So many voices in our world compete for our attention and our loyalty. Sometimes we can get caught in the crowd and wander off, only to find ourselves following unworthy leaders who seek only to serve themselves.

Long term good is seldom accomplished through short term easy. We have to be intentional about who we follow. It is not enough to hear his voice and recognize it; we must behave according to what he says and follow where he leads. It is dangerous for us to get ahead of God or to insist on staying where we are when God is calling us to move. If we believe that God is who he says he is, following him is the next logical step.

Mark 10:21 Come, follow me.