Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Didn't Know I Was Supposed to Follow You

Norris and Kathy have four sweet kids: 3 girls and a boy. The youngest, a 1st grader, Clayton, is quite the maverick. With three older sisters, I'm sure he gets plenty of "bossy-ness" to rebel against! One Sunday recently, however, it wasn't his sisters he circumvented, but his Dad.

Norris told us in Bible Study he'd gotten out of their van talking to Clayton, and as he walked the long way around the building to enter, he'd continued their conversation. Yet, when he turned around to hold the door for Clayton to enter, he found his son conspicuously absent.

Just short of panic, Norris retraced his steps, then combed the halls looking for his son. He found him happily involved in an activity in his 1st grade room. Approaching him, relieved, but a little annoyed, Norris asked him where he'd gone and why he hadn't entered the building behind him. Clayton innocently responded: "I didn't know I was supposed to follow you."

Norris had no reply. His son was safe and right where he needed to be, so admonishment wouldn't have served much purpose. He hadn't told Clayton to follow him, he'd just assumed he would. Shrugging his shoulders, Norris left the room.

When he shared this story with us, Norris rightly pointed out we DO know we're supposed to follow Jesus. He's commanded us to do so. Yet when we consider all the excuses we come up with for taking a "slightly" different direction, not to mention the blatant choices to disobey, we can't innocently turn to the Lord and say, "I didn't know I was supposed to follow You." He's made the expectation of obedience abundantly clear.

The truth is, Norris did take the long route around the building, and Clayton did make it to his classroom just fine taking a short-cut. But Clayton unwittingly missed the interaction with his dad; that's time they'll never get back. When we take "short-cuts" in the path the Lord wants us to follow we really might end up at the right destination, but we will have missed the fellowship with him along the route. Jesus may want to take us the long way around sometimes, just for the conversations it will bring. But when we take our own "short-cuts," we lose opportunity to spend time with him. Life is too short and our relationship with him too sacred to sacrifice his will on the altar of time and selfish preferences.

I want Jesus to say about me: "[She] greatly revered me and stood in awe of my name. [She] passed on to the people the truth of the instructions received from me. [She] did not lie or cheat; [she] walked with me, living a good and righteous life, and turned many from lives of sin" Malachi 2:5-6.

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