by Tim Howard
As I re-read the narrative of Christ during Passion Week – I became intrigued with the way Jesus interacted with people.
Just before the crucifixion and resurrection, He never demanded anything from His followers nor did He seek control of 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.
Jesus is a different type of leader. He doesn’t merely talk about doing something but actually shows His followers 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’ lifestyle.
He told those who were lost and needed direction for their lives to follow Him. He didn’t tell you where to go and what to do but actually led them to the destination. 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’ve been a follower of Christ for over 6 decades but I must admit I have followed reluctantly at times. I haven’t always liked where He was 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, He causes trust to grow. At times it’s through a dry and barren landscape, but even then, He provides for our necessities.
Someone recently asked me if I was going to attend a major event that was happening in the city. Since it was by invitation only and I hadn’t received an invitation – the answer was no! When you’re not on ‘invite list,’ It can hurt! With God, however, everyone is on the invite list – and that includes you!
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