Follow the Leader
Prayer: ”The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” [Psalm 23]
Read: John 12:12-36
Think about It: When we were kids, we played a game called “follow the leader”. It was fairly simple in its execution. The “leader” would take a line of friends on a trek across the playground, trying to make the journey as interesting and perhaps difficult as possible. Usually the game broke up fairly quickly because if you weren’t the leader, interest flagged and children wandered off making the leader a loner. Even now as adult Christians we are engaged in “follow the Leader” because Jesus has commanded it from His sheep. “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.” (John 12:26) These were some of the words Jesus chooses to share with His disciples during the last week of His life.
In some respects, our struggle hasn’t changed much since we were children. We do not come to Jesus to “arrive”. We come to follow. But we get distracted. We become bored. We lose interest. And then we wander off. If we have learned nothing else this week, it is that our Shepherd is good, and He will always come looking for us, seeking to draw us back to Himself, rescuing is from our own weak faith and broken promises. The Leader comes back around to pick us up again when we have chosen to play a different game or dawdle looking at a frog. Our analogy with the schoolyard game holds a little more truth for us here. Generally, the kids who were closer to the front of the line, those who were closer to the leader, tended to hang in there longer with the game. That’s true for us as Christ-followers as well. Those who are closer to the Master tend to hang in there, following where they are led and serving where they are called. It’s when we drift to the back of the line that we get in trouble. Fortunately, there is room at the head of the line for all of us!
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, please help me keep my eyes on You. Turn my heart in Your direction and make my heart burn with a desire to talk to You, read Your Word, and commune with Your people. Thank You for making room for me at the front of the line. When my attention wanders, pull me back and teach me how to follow You so that I can serve You well. In Your name I pray. Amen.