“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Matthew 4:19

When we were young we lived on a small hobby farm in the country. Often, on warm summer night we would go for walks in the woods, following a makeshift trail. One time in particular we were using the opportunity to try out our new flashlights we’d gotten from our grandparents. Halfway through the adventure, my flashlight quit working. It was a moonless night and it was dark!

We’d made this hike hundreds of times at day and at night, but since I’d had light and now was ‘in the dark’ it was scary. I had been in the lead but my brother and I decided that I should relinquish that position since he had the working flashlight. With his guidance (and flashlight!) we were able to make it safely back to the house avoiding the obstacles in our way.

I think of that situation every once in awhile when I read this verse. Jesus invites me to follow him. He doesn’t order me to follow him. It’s my choice. I can decide to take shortcuts. I can go off on my own and try to make my way ‘home’ taking my chances at stumbling over rocks, falling into holes or having a branch slap me across the face. Or, I can follow the light and let it guide me through the troubled times.

Following Jesus isn’t the same as ‘following’ someone on some social networking site. He doesn’t ask me to follow him for his sake; he invites me to follow him for my safety and protection. Jesus knows the safest, and the most fulfilling path for me to follow. It may not be the easiest. It may not be the most glamorous. But it’s the best path for me.

Following Jesus takes risk. I risk being the most popular. I risk being wealthy. I risk having the most toys. What I lose following Jesus pales in comparison to what I gain. Rev. Billy Graham had a friend, George Beverly Shea, who turned down a lucrative recording contract to sing for Jesus. His voice could have brought him millions of dollars. Instead, his songs were instrumental in winning millions to Jesus. I may lose temporary treasure here on earth, but what I gain lasts for eternity.

Following Jesus is exclusive. There are many in the world that will tell you of other ways to happiness, other ways to fame and fortune, other ways to fulfillment of your true self. Who knows better what you need? Someone you have never met or the one who formed you in your mother’s womb? Jesus knows the very best path for you to follow because he made you…and he made the path!

Following Jesus is passionate. When you are in a passion filled relationship you want nothing more than to be in close proximity to the one whom you love. Jesus longs for a passionate relationship with you so that, like Adam and Eve, you can walk the path of life together.

PRAYER: Jesus it’s so easy for me to stray from the path. So many times when I decide my way is faster, safer, quicker and more profitable. Following my path has led to nothing but heartache and frustration. I want to follow you completely. Forgive me for straying. Empower me with your Spirit to follow only you. In your name I pray, Amen.

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