A simple story, Jesus passes by some guys hanging out with John the Baptist and two of them break away and follow Jesus. Turning around, he sees them and asks,
“What do you want?” (What would I say if Jesus asked me that?)
Perhaps they were just curious about the man their teacher had identified as “the One.” Or maybe they were zealous young men looking for a way to change the world. I don’t know all they were thinking, but they answered that they wanted to know where Jesus was staying.
“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
After spending the day with Jesus, Andrew found his brother Simon and brought him to Jesus. The next day Jesus invited Philip, saying, “Follow me.” Then Philip brought Nathaniel (from John 1:35-45 NIV).
You have just had your first lesson in discipleship.
1. two guys separated themselves from the community to look for and learn about God’s chosen One.
2. they followed Jesus as soon as they recognized him.
3. they spent a few hours getting to know him.
4. they brought others to him.
I think the order of these things is worth noting. After all, how can I bring someone to Jesus if I haven’t made the effort to become acquainted with him myself?
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1 ESV). It’s such a simple statement, and somehow this, along with all of this psalm, invokes a deep sense of peace in my soul. God is all the things a shepherd is, protector, provider, leader–everything I need. I shall not want. It doesn’t say I won’t get hurt along the way, or that bad things won’t happen. My shepherd is doing what he does so well, shepherding me; so I’ll be okay.
Something I saw in a new light today is the first part of verse 4. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil …” I’m the one who’s walking. The shepherd isn’t dragging, pushing, or carrying me. I’m moving my legs and following him into deep darkness (another way to translate it). That proves the sheep fully trusts its shepherd. I need not fear evil lurking there, for he is with me.
The remaining verses in effect say I am honored, anointed, followed by goodness and mercy as long as I live, and welcome in his house forever. What a privilege to follow my shepherd, even through the difficult places.
I’m sure there are many bloggers blogging their bloggiest (and posting their postiest, tweeting their tweetiest, pinning their pinningest) about the election a few days ago. How strange that I cannot find words to express my thoughts or feelings about it. Maybe I have nothing to add to what’s already being said. Maybe I just have no desire to add to the already heated arguments.
I know there are believers in Jesus who choose not to vote, and those who struggle with anger because of that choice. I know there are many who are politically active, as well as others who cannot dream of the possibility of a true believer serving in the political realm at all.
My bottom line is I will do my best to love God and follow where he leads, and show love to my neighbor as I would want it for myself. Yes, it’s simplistic, but I can’t think of doing any better than that.