For the majority of the last 5 years my desire has been to become a great leader. I have read numerous books, been to leadership conferences, read blogs, sat under and learned from some great leaders, prayed and have spent countless hours in a classroom learning what it means to lead. The problem is, who gets to decide who is a great leader and who is not? What is the measuring stick? Is it based on how many followers you have? Is it based on what your followers know? Or what they do? Is the thing that determines if you are a great leader how many leaders you are able to reproduce? Or is it the rate at which you reproduce them? And how do you know when you start out in a leadership position, like I am, whether or not you are doing it right? If results don’t always come in the first 5 years then is it possible that I will have to wait 5 years only to find out that I have failed continuously at what I thought was the right thing? Or is it possible that I misread my calling and wasted the last years of my life?
What I neglected to see is that I was not called to lead. I am called to follow. Every invitation Jesus extended was a call to follow him. He said that he would make his followers fishers of men, but he didn’t say that they would be leaders. He certainly didn’t promise that anyone would like them. When he would ask if someone would like to follow him and they would always respond by leaving whatever they were doing, which was usually what they did for a living, and went with him. There was something about the person of Jesus that created such a sense of life. People wanted to know him and be near him. They wanted to learn from him and hear what he had to say. Sometimes I lose sight of the fact that Jesus is so much more than I make him out to be. There is a wonder about him. Something mysterious that always had people asking questions, yet something refreshing that drew weary people to sit with him and soak up his love. Near Jesus the proud had no place to accuse others and the weak had no place to accuse themselves, and often you would find a little child in his arms. And our call was not to go ahead of him, but simply to sit with him and be in his presence. It was a call to follow.
I know what you might be thinking… What about the great commission? Even the great commission wasn’t a calling to go out and lead. It was a call to bear witness to what we have seen and heard. The disciples could only bear witness to what they saw and they heard. They never tried to go beyond that. All they would say over and over is we cannot stop talking about what we have seen and heard. And I wonder how much different my life would be if all I did was testify to what I have seen and heard? All the pressure of comparison is off at that point. All the pressures of leadership vanish. I’m not looking for approval… I’m just trying to tell you what I have seen and heard and what I believe I am supposed to do with that. My responsibility is to follow Jesus and if you would like to follow him with me I would love to be there to encourage you on that journey, wherever it might go.
I am a follower.