Thursday, November 11, 2010

Following - Jesus' style

Reading this morning in Mark 1 and drawn to a paragraph (:16-20) where Jesus is innitiating discipleship among the first of the twelve.

Immediately struck by thinking about how he discipled and how I/we have done so.

1. He went to where they were living/working - alongside the Sea, at the docks, and as they were working among family and friends, mid-day. I/we tend to mostly invite people to a gathering place, with big numbers, safe controls. And I even hear of some who have given up visiting people in their homes etc. entirely and seemingly retreating to a safe and predictable non-relational professionalism where the real-person indexes are hidden under many layers. (Is it ok to be this direct?)

2. He spoke to them and called them in their language, using terms clear to them - fishing for people. Fishing terms were rather gauche in that day...this was not just cultural sensitivity, but social inclusivism, a priority of speaking clearly to all people. (Consider for instance his language among temple people.) He talked in their language. Often I/we have tended to obscure the clear "follows" with elevated, mysterious words.

3. He asked for immediate and costly commitment - "follow me," ie get up now and let's go together - and "immediately" becomes the modus operandi twice - leaving the closest people behind. (It has often cost people relationships with nuclear family to be followers. It did on day one, in this text.) We tend to play down the costs (by demurring the discussion or underlining the "later" factors like heaven) and delay the responses that will produce life and leadership growth. Remember too, that this "follow me" invitation occurred when Jesus was not famous, or followed by anyone else. He was fresh from commissioning and that is all. There was no followership of a great and rising star at hand, just a woodworker who knew his real identity and purpose and would dare to speak from that platform, calling for commitment. He was exercising faith in this...great faith.

4. He told them why he was asking them to "follow" - setting the vision of people clearly before them: you will "fish for" and catch people. I note too that He had just spent forty days alone, in prayer and dependence on the Father, making sure His life merited any followership...that his words would be backed with integrity and Presence. It is a very serious thing to call people to follow. We often are fuzzy and soft in this department (in fact almost at times operating in reverse - letting their sensitivities "call" us) and demurring about/ or neglecting our own personal examples. Let us get bold, my friend, Jesus.

5. He took responsibility for what their development would lead to - "I will make you become." I will be involved all the way with you. You will turn from a static citizen to a becomer. I will partner with you. I guarantee that you will be effective, changed, pleasing to God, difference maker. He started with a small number of hand-picked followers. The numbers would come until whole communities were clamoring after Him...but it was anchored in the few that learned from day one the dynamics of real followership.

Lots to think about here...and pray about...and figure out for today.

Sure it is "only one paragraph." But it IS one paragraph.

Sure it is "Jesus"...but He is the benchmark we are to follow. (I Corinthians 11:1)

Just think: these approaches led to the development of world-changing leaders in just a few years.



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