Sitting down to write this piece I was laughing to myself about one of my dad’s favorite sayings. You may have heard something similar from your own parents growing up: “don’t be a follower – be a leader” (or some arrangement of those words). I can still hear hisvoice and visualize his expression during those lectures, butfind it ironic that the older I get, the more time I spend considering what it means to be a follower.
I recently called to catch up with two of my friends: a thoughtful pastor from Mississippi and a professor who has taken a vow of poverty and is living in the inner city working to help rebuild the community. We have different interests and were shocked to discover that we had all recently begun reading Radical by David Platt. This book was making us uncomfortable about certain aspects of our lives. We were asking some tough questions about the Gospel, what it truly requires of us and where it should take our families andcareers. We all moved passed the idea that Jesus died on a cross so we could become docile and faithful church-goers that don’t smoke, drink or cuss a long time ago. Today, we are caught up in the question of what discipleship truly demands. Platt’s book helped push that conversation to new levels. Even when the answers are crystal clear, they aren’t necessarily easy. Sometimes, the essence of faith is the wrestling match through the night.
Part of my wrestling and discomfort is also a result of the fact that I am currently writing a book about the Beatitudes. I am spending a lot of time caught up in Jesus’ thesis statement — His vision for the kingdom as cast at the outset of the Sermon on the Mount. On occasions like these, when I am confounded by the divine vision of Jesus…I find comfort in His humanity. Today, I came across this piece in Christianity Today that reminded me of that very humanity. It is titled “The Dusty Messiah” — check it out here:
As I try to walk in His footsteps sometimes it is good to remember that He has walked in mine. This wonderful article about the historical Jesus helped me remember the great tension of discipleship:
If I were not following, I wouldn’t be uncomfortable; if I were not following, I wouldn’t be comforted.