Leaders are funny people today! They want people to follow them who are fully trained and have no flaws; who will answer a seemingly endless list of questions that ask the same things in at least three different ways. Then they will print out pages and pages of reports about these people in a world that is longing for someone to help us become less dependent on paper. After hiring the one who looks best on paper, they discover he has all kinds of quirks. Do they need a better employment questionnaire? Maybe. Or maybe this follower really needs you as his leader!
I was reading John chapter 1, and it got me thinking about this. John the Baptist said…
“I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
“The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’” John 1:33-36
As soon as John said that, two of his disciples walked off and started to follow Jesus. How would you react if your best followers started following someone else?
Then one of them found his brother Simon and told him “We have found the Messiah.” When Jesus saw him, he renamed him and called him Peter. How would react if your two ex-followers then recruited more potential followers?
But it didn’t stop there. The next day Jesus asked another one to follow him, called Philip. He immediately found Nathanael, who at first did not have a very high opinion of people who came from Nazareth, or even that a leader could come from there. He soon changed his tune.
And to top it off, a few days later this same leader was taking them all to a wedding and when the wine ran out, he made more for everyone.
But John’s attitude was, “He must increase, and I must decrease.” He knew that Jesus was the leader they needed.
Were these followers perfect? Would they look good on paper if Jesus was reviewing his questionnaires? Probably not. These men were self-centered, jockeying for first place, liars, wanting the benefits without having to pay the cost, wanting to know the end results. Jesus never for a moment thought they had it all together. For three years he just keep working with them, and having them follow him.
Then one day the words of John came true “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” And sure enough, he did baptize them.
Who are you following? Who is following you? Are you about to give up on someone who doesn’t yet have it all together? As we follow Jesus he may very well bring us into places along the way where we would question His leadership; but the follower is not the teacher.
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