Where You Lead, I Will Follow
food for thought:
Food for Thought is a new feature for 2021
This special word of encouragement from a Tasmanian Baptist pastor or leader will now feature in each issue of Advance | step by step
How Do You Describe Yourself?
By Jeff McKinnon
Do you say that you are a Christian? A God-Botherer? A Person-of-Faith?
Many Christians today prefer to designate themselves as 'followers of Jesus'.
Fair enough ... but what does it mean to follow Jesus today? After all, Jesus is not visibly present. So in which direction is he going?
A few thoughts ...
1. Fix your eye on Jesus Hebrews 12:2
The book of Hebrews was written well after Christ's ascension. So the early church saw the metaphor of being attentive to Jesus as helpful.
- I fix my eye on Jesus when I reflect upon his life and teaching in the gospels. I choose to keep my attention on his ways (John 12:21).
- I fix my eye on Jesus when (to mix my metaphors) I listen for the promptings of Holy Spirit in my life (Galatians 5:16-26).
- I fix my eye on Jesus when I copy his values and mission in my life (Matthew 11:29).
2. Go with Jesus into his values and priorities
Jesus spent much of his teaching being very explicit as to his values.
- Love God and your neighbour (Matthew 22:37-39) defining 'neighbour' as anyone in need (Luke 10:25-37).
- Justice, mercy and compassion are God's highest values (Matthew 23:23).
- Jesus would always go to the one that is lost, not the many that are safe (Luke 15:3-7).
3. Go with Jesus into his mission.
So often I have acted in ministry without reference to what Jesus wants done and how he wants it done. Jesus does not, primarily, want me to run programs and events, for his mission-work is profoundly relational.
- I go with Jesus into his mission when I die to myself, letting go of my preferences to go where, and be what, Jesus wants of me (John 12:24-26; Philippians 2:5-11).
- I go with Jesus into his mission when I go to the edges of our society (Luke 5:27-32; 19:1-10).
- I go with Jesus into his mission when I befriend people at the margins (Luke 15:1-2; Matthew 11:16-19).
Following Jesus is not always fun. In fact it is often frustrating, costly and brings sadness into my life. But Jesus puts adventure and challenge in my life. After 40+ years in full-time ministry I am as fresh to grow and learn as when I began. When church gets too predictable ... try following Jesus!
Jeff McKinnon serves as the Pastor at City Baptist, Launceston; and with the Tasmanian Baptist Misison Leadership Team: Town and Country Churches (TACC)