John 1:43 (NIV): The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
The typical call of Jesus to those He wanted for His disciples was “Follow Me.” Two simple words that change everything! When Jesus said, “follow Me,” the invitation was to drop everything, to go where He was going, and to take His mission up for oneself. It was a call for a person to turn away from all of their previously made plans, and instead to sign on to HIS agenda.
But some who heard His call were unwilling to lay down their own agendas. They wanted to tie up loose ends, set their affairs in order, get their lives straightened out first. THEN they would follow Jesus. “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.” (Luke 9:59-61 NIV) Those all sound like perfectly reasonable requests to most of us. But to follow Jesus meant that all of those other things had to fade away as Jesus and His agenda immediately took first place.
Peter, James, and John had it right. When Jesus called them, they pulled their boats up onto the shore, left everything and followed Him. (Luke 5:11) No questions, no worrying about loose ends, just leaving their old lives behind and moving forward into the new life with Jesus.
Today Jesus still calls people to follow Him – to leave behind our old lives full of the things that drew us away from relationship with God in the first place; to leave behind our personal aspirations and agendas, and step boldly into God’s kingdom. To pull up our roots from the system of the world and to transplant them securely into the soil of the kingdom life. To follow His lead as He transforms lives, as He shines His light into the dark places of our societies, and as He touches broken minds, broken bodies, and broken spirits with wholeness and peace. To go where He is working, to speak His words, to be His hand s and feet in a sin-damaged world, restoring and repairing as we go.
When Jesus’ call to follow Him come (and it comes to everyone at one time or another), whether it is a call to follow Him into salvation, or into life-changing ministry, the correct response is not to make excuses. It is not to make a list of things that we need to take care of first. It is not to try and figure out how to make ourselves able or fit for what He has called us to do. It is to simply follow Him. And as we go with Him, we will find that HE will handle all of the things that really need handling, providing ways where there seem to be no ways, providing resources as necessary. And everything will turn out to be small things after all.
Father, this has been so true in my own life. From the first time that You called me to follow You into salvation, to every venture and ministry since, the right decision has been to simply follow. And in that process, I have seen everything handled. The pieces have fallen into place, and everything works. But help me also, Lord, to intentionally travel light; to not weigh myself down with obligations and with stuff that might make it hard for me to simply follow when You call me. Keep my eyes focused on You, my ears tuned to the sound of Your voice, and my feet ready to walk in any way in which You lead me. Amen.