juvenile ibis - corkscrew swamp
Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” … As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. … [Matthew 4:19,9:9 (NLT)]

After deciding to explore a park we’d just discovered, I became apprehensive when no map was available on line or posted at the park. It’s not like we were going to get hopelessly lost on asphalt trails and a boardwalk; nevertheless, I was uncomfortable not knowing exactly where the trails would lead. Then again, I’m the sort of person who keeps all sorts of maps in her car, buys guidebooks, Map Quests a location, uses her GPS and never leaves home without a reservation. Admittedly, I’m also a person with a lousy sense of direction so I need all the help I can get!

Simon Peter, Andrew, John and James—they all abandoned their nets, boats, livelihoods, and even the day’s catch to follow Jesus! Later, Jesus called Matthew out of his tax collector’s booth and the taxman immediately followed. That these men responded to Jesus’ call and readily left their old lives behind is remarkable. More astonishing for me is that, after Jesus said, “Follow me,” none of them asked “Where?”

If someone told me to follow him, I’d be sure to inquire, “Where?” Then, I’d probably want to know the route we’d take, whether I’d like it there, when we’d return, where we’d be staying, and what we’d be doing whenever we got to wherever it was we were going. Before they dropped everything to follow Him, those disciples never asked Jesus their destination (or anything else, for that matter). I never even liked playing “Follow the Leader.” Yet, when the disciples blindly followed their leader, they weren’t playing a silly childhood game. The stakes were much higher and their lives were never the same.

When Jesus says, “Follow me!” He expects us to trust Him enough to do just that. Granted, it’s frightening to step into the unknown but the sheep don’t get to ask the shepherd where they’re going and neither do we. Moreover, following Jesus doesn’t mean fitting His plan into our lives; following Jesus means fitting our lives into His plan. Even without a compass, maps or GPS, we can never be lost when we’re following Him because He’ll never lead us astray. Moreover, while we may not know the route He’ll take, we do know we’ll be doing His work along the way. When we think about it, we also know that our final destination is well worth the trip!

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” [John 8:12 (NLT)]

Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me. [John 12:26 (NLT)]

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