Let’s talk about the most excellent way to
lead follow. I saw Perry Noble’s newly released book, The Most Excellent Way to Lead stacked on the table outside the worship center this past Sunday. Let me quickly confess that I have not read the book, nor even opened the front cover. So absolutely nothing I am preparing to say is a reflection on the book. The title simply planted a thought into my head that I address here.
The thought was, “In order for there to actually be leaders, there has to be followers.” The progression of thought then led me to remember that is where it all begins in the Christian journey, with following. Jesus said to Simon and his brother Andrew, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” When he walked by the tax collector’s booth, Jesus looked at Levi (Matthew) and said, “Follow me.”
When Simon and Andrew followed Jesus, the Bible tells us they left their boat and their fishing nets. They gave up the life they had for a new one that Jesus called them to. Where would they be going? They didn’t know. What would it ultimately cost them? They had no idea. What did it all mean? They would learn along the way.
Jesus calls us in the same way. It is a call to follow Him. The best word that I can think of to describe that life is “Surrender.” One of my favorite stories in the Gospels happens after the Resurrection. Simon Peter says in John 21, “I am going fishing.” Some of the others said they would go with him. They fished all night and caught nothing. The next morning Jesus shows up. You can read the story for the details. I want to focus on a conversation near the end of the story between Jesus and Peter.
Jesus asks Simon Peter three times, “Do you love me?” After the final affirmation of love Jesus tells Simon Peter that following Him is going to cost Peter his life.
I love Simon Peter’s response. He sees John walking close and asks Jesus, “What about him?” I understand that to be, “What is it going to cost John?” And Jesus tells Peter that is not his concern. It is clear that there is not equal sacrifice in following Jesus. We do not know where it may lead. We do not know what it might cost. What we know is that Jesus asks us to surrender to Him in full abandonment.
Being a disciple of Christ is not about giving intellectual assent to certain theological postulates. It is not about confessing a creed with our mouths. Becoming a Christian in reality is leaving behind whatever is our life at the time to follow Jesus.
Before you concern yourself with being a leader, let me ask you, how are you doing with the first step of following? Are you truly surrendered to Christ? Is He directing your life? Why would anyone be willing to pay that price? Because it is when you abandon yourself to follow Jesus that you really begin to live to the fullest the life God designed you for when He made you. You follow because Jesus gave His life on a cross in death so that you might have life at its very best. Because you hear His call and in your heart you know that it is the only way, you follow. The most excellent way to follow is to surrender yourself to Jesus in absolute abandonment to His will.