The Primary Verb: FOLLOW

Maybe it started with … Abraham,
following the call of a God he barely knew,
a Voice in his ear,
in his heart. 

Or maybe it was Jacob?

Finagling his way to a birthright,
following the north-eastern road to find safe harbor,
and discovering the God he never knew,
the One who was in ‘this place.’
And then there was Joseph.
And Joseph didn’t exactly ‘follow,’
 or did he?
Forced into Egyptian slavery,
yet … always hearing,
always listening,
always hoping.
Always following.
Moses followed the Voice, too.
The Israelites followed the Cloud and the Pillar of Fire.
It was hit and miss most of the time, actually;
the judges, the kings, the priests, the prophets.
Sometimes staying on the path;
sometimes not so much. 

The magi followed the star,

Joseph followed the dreams,
Mary followed the promise.
And thirty years later, Jesus went on the road.
And over and over and over again,
he used one single verb:
Follow me, to be exact.  
That verb came first; it came before
At the heart of discipleship is this word,
this verb which comes from the root ‘to hear.’
This is the ‘essence of discipleship,’
our pastor said.
And I think he’s right.
But here’s something else I think:
it’s a really, really tough gig.
Because, see, I want to follow.
Yes, I do.
I want to follow Jesus, no matter what,
no matter where.

But then…I see a promising rabbit trail,
that one over there that says,
“Let’s Keep It Safe.”

Or the one that takes me to a box,
a nice big one,
with square corners,
and clear borders.
Borders that are not terribly permeable.
This box keeps Jesus neatly within my
particular worldview,
removing the uncomfortable bits,
the tough stuff.
Like denying myself,
or taking up that cross.
Or selling all and giving it away.
Or becoming like a child.
If I can just keep Jesus inside,
where we can have tea once a day,
and talk about life –
well, that’s the kind of following that seems doable.
There’s another route I could choose, too.
In fact, I too often do.
I truly do follow Jesus,
right down the path.
But I sorta stop part way.
I take a pit stop,
right there in that part of the path
where it’s just the two of us,
spending quality time together.
And that’s the true path,
the good path.
But it isn’t the whole path.

When I keep it close like that,
when I make it only about Jesus and me,
that’s when I am most apt to
miss the adventure,
to miss the abundant life Jesus promised.

So here’s to taking a bigger risk,
to letting go of that overwhelming need to be safe,
to breaking through the edges of the box,
to reaching out
as well as going deep.

Do I want to be a real disciple?
Or not?

Signing on with Michelle, Jennifer, Jennifer, Ann and Emily tonight.


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  1. oh diana. you spoke right to my heart tonight. you answered a question i’ve been asking. a hard post, but SUCH a good one. thank you so much…