This year’s Lenten theme is “to follow Jesus”. I have to admit, I am a bit of a nerd as one of my favorite phone apps is the dictionary/thesaurus. I further investigated the words follow, follower or following. The thesaurus includes these synonyms: to chase, ensue, pursue, to be a disciple, and to tailgate! As I pondered on the word tailgate, I was reminded of a reckless driver who is much too close to me, or of enjoying a party at a football game. Am I recklessly chasing too close to Jesus or in celebration with Him or am I pursuing meaningless things that have no eternal value as Solomon so well describes in the first chapter of Ecclesiastes: “Meaningless! Meaningless! …” ? In Matthew 4:19-20: “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed Him; they recklessly tailgated Jesus, and no doubt are celebrating with Him today!
As I meditated on this, I began to question myself. Either I am following Jesus or I am not. I cannot follow Him with my agenda. It is His way or no way. I must follow him to the cross and die with Him. As John the Baptist said, “He must become greater, I must become less.”(John 3:30) This creates tension, as much of life seems to be about waiting or living in the “gray.” I am always waiting for someone, waiting for something or waiting for the next season before following Jesus. Following Jesus is also not “gray”, either I am or I am not. Following Jesus requires action not tarrying.
The time of Jesus’ ministry was short and it demanded full, perhaps even reckless, attention and commitment from his disciples. Is this any different today? Our time is also short! James 4:14: “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Our days are numbered and time moves by in a flash. Although the time is short, the consequences are of eternal value. A decision is required: am I following Jesus to the cross, the empty tomb and the resurrection or not? Amen!