I was watching a group of kids playing that fun childhood game “Follow the Leader.” The leader was taking their followers through the play structure, down the zip line…one kid had trouble climbing the big cargo rope but the leader went back and helped them and a bunch of kids helped too (they were continuing to follow their leaders). So off they went enjoying their adventure.
All was going great until one kid stopped following. Now I’m not sure why exactly he stopped following, but he did say and made it clear, “I don’t want to follow you any more, I want everyone to follow me.” So this no-longer-following kid sat down in a huff with his arms folded, with full sound effects and furrowed brow. Most of the kids just kept following their original leader, some stopped to ask the seated kid if he needed help and with more sound effects and a tighter folding of the arms he said, “I am not following anymore!”
As time went on, a few kids actually sat with the kid not following, but sooner or later their attention was taken by the laughter of the other followers and they left the kid seated alone. He would glance every so often but turned away and with great determination just sat.
As I mused over this sight, I thought about those of us who call ourselves ‘followers of Jesus.’ Remember Jesus saying…
Matthew 4:19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
He says that to all of us; that we would choose to follow Jesus and to live life His way, to surrender to His will, His purposes, His values, His way of doing things. Not my way, or my values, or my ambition. See, there is no “I” in follow. It’s the taking on of Jesus’ values, ambitions, purposes, and ways and making them our own, and yes, it’s tough. Did not Jesus say…
Matthew 10:38-39 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
And the life Jesus has is amazing…
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
And sure, we will follow Jesus like those kids did with their leader, and many times only if it is fun and what we like and if we are having a good time and if it fits our expectations and is in accord with our plans. Yet all too many times we are like that kid who sat down because we want life to be about us, our way, our ideals…about “I”. But remember there is no “I” in follow!
So where are you in following your leader Jesus? What areas of your life have you sat down and folded your arms; relationships, success, finances, church stuff, family stuff, life direction, politics, missions, friends? Why not turn your attention and focus on Jesus and see how He leads in that area…it may even be fun. Yes, it will be tough, even a struggle, but when we follow Jesus He says,
Matthew 11:30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Why not join in and follow Jesus.
Oh about that kid, after a while this non-following-seated kid did notice a group of other non-following kids who all seemed to be doing their own individual activities and he whet over and did his sitting with some fellow non followers. It seemed he still wanted company though only on his terms! Again there is no “I” in follow.
Seeking to join with you and Follow Jesus,