Friday, August 24, 2012

Follow Me

Among the first recorded words of Jesus are, "Follow Me." Follow Him, and He will make you a fisher of human souls. Follow Him, and He will show you true peace. Follow Him, and He will give you the riches of the Heavenly Kingdom.

"Follow," as used here, encompasses virtually every English meaning of the word: follow the path and don't wander off; stay behind the Leader and don't run ahead or lag far back; follow instructions and don't try to invent your own way. The original Greek also carries the sense of "accompany" or "assist." When we follow Jesus, we are more than His subjects; we are His companions, right-hand people, and friends. 

Many of us want to follow Him but wonder why the path never seems clear. Often it's because we have our stubborn minds made up to follow only at our own speed and on our own terms. While relatively few of us flatly refuse to obey clear instructions, many of us are all too willing to listen with half an ear if we suspect God may tell us anything we don't want to know. Or, conversely, we nag Him to provide instructions in detailed long-term format so we aren't distracted from the important work by the nuisance of keeping in constant touch with Him. We don't really want Jesus to be our Leader; we want Him to be our daily planner who organizes our own preferred duties, our front guard who goes before us while we choose path and pace.   

If, as a child, you ever lost Mom in a public place, you have some idea of the results that attitude can serve up.

Of course, unlike that frantic mother, Jesus knows exactly where we are even when we're lost. He simply waits for us to call to Him, in sincerity and repentance, to show us the way back to the path. Often, we can't see His leading clearly because we don't yet feel lost enough to know the desperate earnestness of seeking Him wholeheartedly.

But as God told the Israelite exiles (in Jer. 29:13) who became lost when they stopped following Him: "You will seek me and find me [and My plan for you] when you seek me with all your heart."

He Who called His first disciples
Where the lake in sunlight basked,
Still does call us where we labor:
"Follow Me, and find your task."

He Who called the weak and weary
To a "load" that meant release,
Still is calling us to trust Him:
"Follow Me, and walk in peace."

He Who called the ones reluctant
To abandon earthly care,
Calls us still to full surrender:
"Follow Me to Heaven's share."

Lord, You led the way through suffering,
On through death, to life again:
May we find the faith to answer,
"We will follow to the end."

No comments: