THIS WEEK: A Mission-Minded Person Is Clear in Their Calling!
The game of “Follow the Leader” was a grade school favorite…if you got to be the leader!
Being the leader was fun. You could go where you wanted, how fast you wanted, and perhaps subconsciously your 8-year old competitive mind was trying to do something not all your followers could do. (I’m sure that wasn’t me!)
Being a follower had mixed reviews. Sometimes the leader lacked creativity and challenge…boring! However sometimes the leader chose to lead to a place that was challenging for you to follow. The result? “I don’t want to play anymore.”
Following is easy when the leader leads somewhere familiar and comfortable. Following is challenging when the leader takes us into uncharted and difficult areas. It’s then that our commitment to the leader is broken or proven.
Jesus doesn’t always lead where it is comfortable and familiar.
Yet he calls us to follow.
John 1:43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
What did Philip (and the other 11) understand about following Jesus when they first left what they were doing and following him? Perhaps they weren’t sure. However, by the end of the three years together, they had learned following Jesus took commitment, because following Jesus was not always familiar or easy.
In fact on a few occasions Jesus laid out some tough teach to reinforce commitment to him was primary over commitment to other very important relationships. Here’s what he challenged:
Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.
Jesus wasn’t telling us to turn hateful toward these people, he was stating in strong way, “If you are to follow me, it is a high calling and commitment.”
So why would we make that commitment to follow?
Many followed Jesus when things were easy and familiar. However, eventually when things got tough, many deserted him. He turned to these twelve and asked if they would like to leave too.
John 6:68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
There is no one else following because there is no one else who is the “Holy One of God” and who has the “words of eternal life.” To stop following Jesus is to give up on eternal life. That’s why following with first and full commitment is worth it…even when it is tough and unfamiliar.
Apply: Where are the tough places Jesus is leading in your life? Is he leading you to be bold in your faith in an environment that is hostile to Christianity? Is he leading you to love a person who seems unlovable? Is he leading you to speak up where the easy thing would be to remain silent?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for calling me to follow. I know you will not call me to do something for which you will also equip me to do. So when it is tough to follow where you are leading, help me to not give up, but to rely on you all the more. Amen.
READING & PRAYER for the ministry of Cross & Crown:
Tuesday: – Colossians 3:12-14 “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. PRAYER: Lord, clothe our leadership team in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and love. Give us deep love for each other, your Church and the ministry you’ve put before us. Throughout this process, teach us to make allowance for each other’s faults. Refine us into the image of Christ.