It is a fact that at some point in our lives, we have someone that we have followed. As children, our main focus of attention was our parents or the people who cared for us. Wherever they went, we always wanted to follow. I remember when my children were toddlers, my wife and I always prayed that they would still be asleep by the time I was leaving home for work. Whenever they were awake however, it was always a Herculean task to get them to understand that they could not follow me to work and that I would be back.
When Jesus started His ministry on earth, one of the first tasks He did was to appoint his disciples. It is interesting to note what He said to the brothers Simon and Andrew, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Mark 1:17) Going a little further ahead, He came across James and John, sons of Zebedee. He called them and they also followed Him. Up until that moment, they followed their father to catch fish but now, they were following Jesus to do more than catch fish but to fish for the souls of men.
Ask any successful person what the secret of their success is and they will tell you among other things, the people who they looked up to and whose steps they followed to achieve success. One of the greatest prophets recorded in scripture was Elijah. He was such an anointed and powerful prophet feared by all including kings of Israel who reigned during his time. A time came when Elijah was to be taken away from the earth and this became public knowledge especially among the prophets.
I am not sure many of the prophets understood what that meant; they probably thought he was just going to die but one thing was certain, they knew Elijah was on his final journey and they were never going to see him again. Seeing Elisha following Elijah made them quite curious and they just had to ask, "Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?” (2 Kings 2:3) Elisha replied, "Yes I know, keep silent!" Now, notice there is an exclamation mark in his response. It means He actually raised his voice and instructed them to stop talking about it. He did not want anyone to discourage Him from following after his master. He had a mission and that mission was to continue the work that his master did. If they couldn't see it, that was their problem but they were not going to stand in his way.
Of all the sons of the prophets, he was the only one who really desired to do what Elijah did and more. When Elijah eventually asked him what he wanted after several attempts to discourage him from following him, Elisha responded, "Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me." That was a big ask and even Elijah told him so but he gave him a condition and if Elisha fulfilled it, he would get what he requested and that was what happened.
In Paul's 1st letter to the Corinthians, chapter 11, he made a request, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ". Paul knew who he was following and therefore encouraged others to follow him knowing that ultimately, they will follow Christ's example. I wonder how many of us in ministry can boldly encourage others to follow our example as we follow the example of Christ. Paul wasn't perfect, he had his own issues that he had to deal with but his main goal was to follow Christ and he did not let anything stand in His way.
This brings me to pen the following words, "Who you follow, determine how far you go". When the Jewish leaders resolutely disputed the testimony of Jesus, He told them, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12) Notice the word "follows". When Jesus saw their stubborn hearts, He told them, "I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come." By refusing to follow Jesus, they cut short their destiny.
To be continued