If your friend jumped off a cliff, would you jump, too?
Ever hear that one before? Maybe you’ve even said it to a young person you are concerned is following the wrong crowd. We all want our children to be leaders. But is there a time to teach them to follow?
My church had VBS this week. What a great time we had talking to kids about how much the Creator of the universe loves them, and how far that love goes to save them. We were Galactic Starveyors!
On our last night, when we were having our last practice before the closing program for parents, we had a visitor. An 11 year old boy came with his grandma, who was one of our teachers. I was in charge of music, and encouraged the youngster to practice the songs with us. I tried to assure him I’d help him learn the motions as quickly as possible.
“Just follow me,” I said.
Without skipping a beat the boy replied, “I’m not a follower. I’m a leader.”
I get that. He’s a good looking boy, a good student, a gifted athlete, and an all around nice guy. I hope he’s a leader in his school. I think his classmates would do well to follow his example.
But is there a time when even the best leaders should learn to be followers, too? I will tell you he got up there with the rest of the kids and did a crash course in song motions. Not an easy thing to do in front of peers who already knew what they were doing.
The Israelites and the Philistines were preparing to go to war. Not only was the Israeli army outnumbered by about a gazillion to one, on the day of the battle “not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or a spear in his hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.” (13:22)
Can you spell “defeat?”
So Jonathan told his armor bearer to follow him and together they’d sneak into the Philistine post. His armor bearer replied, “Do all that you have in mind… I am with you heart and soul.” (14:7)
If your friend jumped into the Philistine camp, would you jump, too?
How do you know when to lead, and when to follow someone else’s lead? In this case Jonathan asked for God’s direction, then followed the Lord into battle – just he and his armor bearer – and defeated all the men at the enemy outpost.
Who do you follow, and why? Maybe you’re a Type A person who feels you’re the only one who can do any job, so therefore people should follow you.
There are so many theologies preached by so many different preachers, so many programs touted by so many “experts,” so many opinions voiced by so many people. Who do you follow?
My prayer is that you will weigh everything and everyone according to Scripture plus nothing. Only that which is grounded in the Word of God is worth following.
Jonathon waited for God. We need to, too. Whether it’s a building campaign, a missions trip, a city project, a Sunday School curriculum, our leader should first and foremost be God.
If God is laying some position of leadership on your heart, go to Him. Test Him. Then obey Him.
And if God is raising up another to lead you, go to God. This might just be a case where God is calling you to follow with your “heart and soul.”