Follow the Leader

We use a lot of sports analogies when talking about our Christian life. My favorite, being an Alabama Crimson Tide fan, is the analogy of football. You’ve got some basic membership levels with football…first you have the starters (the players that get on the field of battle); then you have those on the team, but sitting on the bench; then you have the fans, the spectators, in the stands (or more often from the recliner at home) cheering them on.

In the Christian life, God doesn’t want you to be a spectator. He doesn’t even settle for you to be on the bench. He wants you to not only be on the team, but actively playing on the field.

In all the ways we can play on the field (preacher, teacher, singer, musician, techie, etc.) – every single one of those are replaceable – someone else can do that job. Chances are, someone else can do that job even better than you.

But one job you are called to do – you cannot be replaced – only you can fulfill that role – that God-given role…

The most sacred, the most permanent of all irreplaceable roles is your role as a loving follower of Jesus, to be a devoted child of God. No one can give God your heart. No one can love God for you.   Rocks can cry out; angels can praise Him; the heavens can declare His glory day after day after day – but only you can love Him like you can love Him.

If you followed Jesus like you believed it was your one, eternal, irreplaceable role, how would it affect you – how would you approach life and your function on this team (within your local and global church body)?

1.  I think it would make you hold everything loosely.

The one thing that will never be taken from you is the only thing that really matters – this role as a follower. You cannot be wrapped up in replaceable roles – define yourself as a great “whatever” and eventually another, better “whatever” will come along. But, if your identity is set as a child of God – a follower of Jesus – then you can welcome more and more change to all things around you. There is no opportunity or position that can’t be shared or given away. In fact, you’ll find it better to do so.

2.  I think it would keep you from comparison.

Whenever they began comparing things, Jesus always stopped the disciples with this question: “What is that to you? You follow me.” Comparison can destroy a church, a team, and even a person. It robs of the joy of success. Remember Rick Warren’s famous phrase, “It’s not about you?” The other side of that is “It’s all about Jesus” (or as my former pastor used to say, “Every decision is a spiritual decision.”)

3.  I think following Jesus like you should, would also remind you of Kingdom things.

“If He (Jesus) were speaking to our generation, I imagine He would say, ‘Check your egos at the door. I have no need for your resumes. I’m not impressed by all that you’ve accomplished or any accolades you’ve received. Stop your love affair with titles and positions. This is not going to be about your gain. It will be for My glory and for your good, but not for your gain in the way you have thought of gain. End all this talk of success and influence. My way is through the cross – becoming low, emptying yourself, serving others. To come after me is death. Death to your agendas and selfish ambition. This is not about a church or a brand or a ministry or a star. It is about a kingdom. And there is only one King. Deny yourself. Take up your cross. Follow Me.’” (excerpt from Worship Leader Magazine, July/August 2008, p. 28)

So before you seek to find what the root problem is in your church. Before you seek to place blame on schedules or programs or people or personalities…before you give up on seeing God’s glorious plan for you and your church – we would all do well to hear these words of Jesus again: “Follow Me.”

(Many concepts here are from Worship Leader Magazine, July/August 2008, “Follow the Leader”, p. 24. I took these concepts and created a devotional thought for my choir at FBC Elberton. All copyrights belong to the owner, Worship Leader Magazine and author, Glenn Packiam.)

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