Someone once asked a woman what she did for a living, and she said, "I’m a follower of Jesus Christ; disguised as a waitress!"
WE ARE CALLED TO FOLLOW JESUS, NOT SEEK A POSITION.
When Jesus first called the disciples, they were not called to be leaders.
„« He did not call them into leadership ¡V He just called them to¡K¡¥Follow Me¡¦
„« Peter, Andrew, James and John were not invited to be leaders. They became leaders only after Jesus empowered them to lead.
„« We are called to be FOLLOWERS first¡K if we failed that, we are not prepared to lead.
It¡¦s not like the show ¡¥Apprentice¡¦ ¡V they go through a series of tests in order to take up the top position. Not so for the disciples ¡V they weren¡¦t going for any positions; they simply FOLLOW Jesus.
In fact, the Bible says comparatively little about leadership and a great deal about ¡¥followership¡¦. About being a disciple. Most, if not all, started off as servants...
Look at some familiar examples:
„« Joseph - God has planned for him to be Pharaoh in Egypt but he wasn’t called to it. He was betrayed, sold, imprisoned, wrongly accused... his heart was to serve God and His purpose.
„« Moses - shepherding when God appeared to him. Reluctant. He served God’s purpose.
„« Gideon - threshing wheat in the winepress, God wanted him to free Israel from the Midianites. Not sure, asked God for signs.
„« David became a king, but when Samuel was led to anoint him, he was a shepherd boy. He did not seek it. And ended up having even to run for his life and suffer quite a bit before enthronement.
„« Prophet Jeremiah - called to deliver a message of judgment - sad news.
„« Esther became a leader when God, through Mordecai, called her to stand before the king to protect his people. Mordecai (Est 4:13): "And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"
They did not seek for any position. God’s call was always a call to serve His purpose.
They were exalted to honourable positions because they SERVE, not because they seek for it.
So what does it really mean to be His FOLLOWER? It basically means LEARNER.
A disciple is a STUDENT. But who are we learning from ¡V Jesus.
Matt 10:38 ¡§¡Kanyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.¡¨
Matt 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Matt 19:21 Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
But why FOLLOW ME¡K why not attend a course, learn some skills, take up some training? Why, because SERVING GOD is not about skills, intelligence¡K is about attitude. It¡¦s about being LIKE JESUS!
The 3 principles of followership:
ƒð Someone step into this room. Excited.
ƒð "Come, come and follow me. Show you something!" and he ran off...
ƒð Hear the cry. Curious. Drop out stuff or whatever we are doing; ran after him.
ƒð Where did he go? Up to 4th floor... around the rooms, down the other stairway...
ƒð You have to keep your pace, keep your eyes fixed on him... at every turn.
From the examples of all the great men & women of God who SERVED GOD well:
1. THEY HEAR HIS CALL
2. THEY LAY DOWN THEIR OWN AGENDA
3. THEY FIX THEIR EYES ON JESUS
Today, when we serve Him in any ministry - AF, SS, Choir, PA, ES...
„« we are actually responding to His call...
„« there is a job to be done and God wants me to do it.
So the important question you need to ask is: Are you hearing Him?
„« It cannot be my voice. It cannot be the church’s voice...
„« You respond only to His voice. You serve because you know HE WANTS YOU TO.
„« Not simply because pastor wants you to do something, not because KTCC needs you...
Only when you hear HIS VOICE, your service will be sustainable.
Only when you hear HIS VOICE, the motivation to serve will not cease or wane.
That’s why potential students at seminaries have to go through an interview, where they will help you ascertain your call. If you’re into full-time service because you feel like it, you like the glamour or prestige that goes with it, or whatever, then you’re on the wrong footing.
The prophets responded to God’s call. The disciples responded to Jesus’ call.
„« And they were able to make great sacrifices, to see that His work be done
„« Are you responding only to MY call? Then change it. It’s wrong.
„« Are you responding only to KTCC’s call? Then you need to re-tune.
God only is your object of worship and service. You serve Him. You are responding to His call. That’s the mindset you have to adopt.
HAVE YOU HEARD HIM?
If you did not hear from Him - that’s very scary.
„« You’ll be lost. You do not know what He wants.
„« And that’s dangerous - because when you are not hearing His voice, you’re hearing some other voices.
„« What other voices do you think you’re hearing? Your own voice... the voice of the devil, the voices of the world.
„« You will end up doing your own things. You’re responding to your own call.
„« Simply put, you’ll be deceived!
2. THEY LAY DOWN THEIR OWN AGENDA
There is a certain cost involved. You have to sacrifice something. It may not be a big one, but a cost is involved.
„« Peter, Andrew, James, John dropped their nets & boats. Matthew left his tax-collection table.
„« Abraham left his home and became a sojourner
„« Moses have to confront Pharoah and bear with a grumbling and ungrateful Israel
„« The list is endless. Over the centuries, we see men & women of God dropping their own agenda to take on God’s agenda for them.
This giving up is a good thing - see it as a cheap deal.
„« We say it’s value-for-money when we pay a little for a product that is really good and expensive.
„« You give up a little, but you’re going to earn eternal rewards. Eternal interests that cannot be measured.
Remember the rich young ruler who came to Jesus -
Mark 10:17ff "What must I do to inherit eternal life?
„« He kept the commandments.
„« Jesus: "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Mk 10:21)
„« Jesus is asking him to drop the temporary wealth and take on eternal treasures in heaven.
„« This man did not see the light. His face fell and he went away sad.
What a foolish man, we may say. But if you think deeper, aren’t we like him, very often?
„« Our problem may not be money - but things that we’ve been banking on for happiness, fun, security...
„« Are we very attached to some things? Are we attached to stuff that are purely temporary?
„« Try this - think for a moment - what have you done for the past 2 weeks that have eternal consequences?
This young man came so close to the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ response turned him away.
„« Jesus allowed that man to walk away. Why? Because you cannot come to Jesus on your own terms. "Lord, I want you and I want these..."
„« It’s a choice the man has to make. It’s a choice you have to make.
„« God is not going to force anyone into submission, into service...
„« This man counted the cost and said, I’m not ready for it.
John Henry Jowett: "Ministry that costs nothing, accomplishes nothing."
Are you ready for it? Are you prepared to lay down your own agenda?
3. THEY FIX THEIR EYES ON JESUS
Look at Peter¡¦s experience.
„« Jesus first called him in Matt 4:19, "Follow Me" (Matt 4:19), and Peter followed with no hesitation.
„« He was quite confident of himself¡K Later he came to the place where he denied Jesus, and his heart broke.
„« Then the Lord appeared and restored him and Jesus said again, "Follow Me." (John 21:19).
„« Now no one is in front of Peter except the Lord Jesus Christ. This was 3 years later.
Between these two times Peter experience failures and even denied Jesus.
„« But then he came completely to the end of himself and all of his self-sufficiency.
„« There was no part of himself he would ever rely on again.
The first "Follow Me" was nothing mysterious; it was an external following. Jesus is now asking for something more than the external ¡V anyway this 2nd FOLLOW ME lasted only over a month ¡V His FOLLOW ME was a commitment more than just a physical following -something from the heart ¡V a sacrifice and yielding (see John 21:18).
Mother Teresa: "You will never know that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you’ve got."
I must be His follower, because without Him, there is not following¡K there is no ministry¡K there is no serving¡K
It¡¦s all about Him. To be a good follower of Christ, you need to fix your eyes on Him.
„« You cannot lose sight of Him.
„« This dependency on Him must be there all the time.
„« No matter how seasoned a Christian you may be, this dependency must be there and must remain strong.
Sign seen in a textile mill, "When your thread becomes tangled, call the foreman."
A young woman was new on the job. Her thread became tangled and she thought, "I’ll just straighten this out myself."
She tried, but the situation only worsened. Finally she called the foreman.
"I did the best I could," she said.
"No you didn’t. To do the best, you should have called me."
God is not interested in what you or I can do on our own. He delights in the tasks that we trust Him for.
- He is happy if we share with Him our serving and struggles all the time...
- He is glad that we’re pray to Him for our ministry concerns...
In fact, it saddens Him if we think we can be independent, that we’re good enough for the job.
He knows we can’t. And it’s foolish of us to think we can.
Look at all the followers of Jesus - they were first called to LEARN (meaning of disciple). The moment you¡¦re on your own ¡V you ceases to be a follower.