by Tim Howard
As I re-read the life of Christ during the Easter season several things caught my attention. One of the interesting facts I underscored had to do with the way Jesus interacted with people. Even during His last week of life, before the crucifixion and resurrection, He never demanded anything from his followers nor did He seek to control their lives in a dictatorial way. In one of His darkest moments while in Gethsemane, He didn’t demand that His disciples stand alongside Him but merely asked them to join Him in prayer. No pressure, no pushiness and no strong-armed tactics. He simply gave an invitation.
In the early days of Jesus’ ministry He began to approach people and invited them to become His partners. He said in Matthew 4:19: “ … Follow Me, and I will make you into a fisher of men.” His promise to them had to do with transformation. If you follow me, I will make you, shape you and show you how to become a person who develops meaningful and lasting relationships.
Following leaders is important if you are going to live a lifestyle of togetherness. There may not be a need for leadership if one chooses to live alone, isolated and set apart from others, but we were created to be integrated and if there is no leadership, chaos thrives.
Jesus is a different type of leader. He doesn’t merely talk about doing something but actually shows a follower how to walk and how to live a fruitful life. While many today wax eloquent in mere rhetoric and pontificate specific dogma that sways people, Jesus practiced a ‘Show and Tell’ mentality.
Jesus told those who were lost and needed direction for their lives to follow him. I won’t just tell you where to go and what to do, I will actually lead you and show you the way. Follow Me! Wow that simplifies everything. Do what He does, go where He goes, say what He says and things will work out. Jesus will get you to your appropriate destination because He knows the way.
I am a follower of Christ because I accepted His invitation over 45 years ago. That being said, I must admit I follow reluctantly at times. I don’t always like where He is taking me! Sometimes it’s through darkness and difficulty but in those times Jesus develops character in me. Sometimes He leads me into the unknown but even when I’m unable to see the future and fear seeks entrance, I develop trust in His guidance. At times it’s through dryness and a season of barrenness, but even in the dessert He provides water.
Someone recently asked me if I was going to attend a major event that was happening in the city. I expressed that it was by invitation only and I hadn’t received an invitation. Possibly you know the feeling when you discover you aren’t on the ‘invite list’. It hurts! The good news in God’s Word, however, is this: You are invited!
Matthew 11:29-30, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." MSG
I pray you accept the offer because YOU ARE INVITED!