A few weeks ago, our organization sponsored a local leadership training event that was put on at a church. Although this event was at a church, this was not intended to be a faith-based event, but more a leadership event that public entities could feel comfortable sending their workers to for CEU’s and solid leadership training.
Our event organizer had a great idea to bring in a speaker over the lunch hour to speak on leadership on the local level. He recruited a local state senator to speak for about 30 minutes on what it meant to be a leader locally and in the State House.
Since this event was supposed to not be faith-based, he was explicitly instructed to not speak about his faith, but focus more on leadership. This was to be out of respect for these public institutions who already walked a fine line by sending their employees to a leadership event at a church building.
Yet, despite these instructions, the speaker led in with how he was asked not to speak about his faith, but couldn’t do that because his faith was such a part of his leadership.
Yea, he did that.
And, I sat there wondering if what I heard could really be true. Did this state senator, despite the instructions not to talk about specific faith matters not only do it, but really flaunt it in the face of the organizers of the event?
Yea, he did that.
You see, this state senator was probably a good leader. But, in that moment, he neglected a crucial role in being a Christian.
You have to be a good follower.
I believe Jesus called us sheep so we could understand how important it is to be a follower. And to be honest, sometimes I feel like the worst kind of follower. As frustrated as I was with the state senator at the leadership event, I do things like that all of the time to, if nothing else, prove that I am in control and have power.
In John 10, Jesus gives a rather lengthy teaching on what it means to be a sheep and what it means to trust him as the Good Shepherd. He talks of gates and pastures and how we are to follow where he leads. It is really a beautiful passage painting a picture of a loving a trusting relationship.
And, when I think about the people in my life who have had the most impact, I think about people who have submitted to a relationship with Christ like the one described in John 10. These are people who follow Jesus because they love him, and they know his voice in their lives. These are people of peace, joy, and humble hearts.
On the other hand, I think of the most unhappy and destructive people I know. They have submitted to nobody but themselves. For them, to follow something bigger than themselves is to give up control and power. They do not know what it means to be led, and how to follow with trust.
I feel like I dance between these two extremes. Sometimes, I am content to follow. Other times, I need to be in control. While I think that is human, I do think there is so much more I can do to be a good follower.
Let me give you three quick hits to carry through the weekend.
– Be quiet
– Be aware
– Be humble
Carry these attitudes with you throughout this weekend. When you want to speak, let your words be few. Open your eyes to what Christ is doing in this world. And be willing to submit, to loose, to follow.
What does it mean to you to be a good follower?