Follow Me

When Jeff decided not to finish his doctorate a few years ago, we thought we were leaving education behind. This was scary because being involved in schools is all either of us has ever known. And then Jeff became a principal, and that was a very weird thing because we really thought he was going to become a pastor. But the school, in a weird way, became church to some of the people there. So then we wondered if we made a mistake in not continuing the education route.

When Elisha was plowing in the field, Elijah came up to him and threw his cloak over him. Elisha asked permission to go back and tell his parents goodbye which Elijah granted but told him not to forget what he had just done to him. Elisha didn’t forget, because Elisha took his yoke of oxen that he had been plowing with and killed them and fed his family and then burned up his plowing equipment…the only way of life he had ever known…his way of making a living. He made the dramatic statement…I’m not going back…ever. And then he really couldn’t…he couldn’t turn around and go back when things got tough. There was nothing to go back to.

We’re in that boat now. The school closed, and Jeff hasn’t been able to find another job, and the church thing isn’t coming together…yet. We’ve been completely in limbo for the last 10 months. At times, it feels like we’re on a merry go round, one where the person running it has left and it’s been switched to high speed, and we’re spinning out of control. It’s not fun anymore, and it’s making me dizzy and a little sick to my stomach. And I’m really ready to get off.

Jesus said to his disciples, “Follow Me.” And they left what they knew and followed Him. Immediately. They left fishing nets and tax tables and families and houses. They left not knowing what the next thing was going to be…what was going to be provided for dinner…or where they would sleep that night…or what the next year might hold. Jesus didn’t offer His disciples security…no retirement packages came with His deal. All He offered was His presence and promised that that would be enough. He said it would be hard, and it was.

And then there were the ones Jesus really discouraged from following Him, the ones who said that they wanted to follow Him, but Jesus knew their hearts weren’t really with Him. Some loved money more than Him. Some were more interested in where they were sleeping that night. And some couldn’t let go of their families. And Jesus wanted it all…wanted all of them…wants all of us.

For those who are adventurous, the command “Follow Me” sounds like a cool new adventure, but the last part is what we have trouble with because it says, “he must deny himself and take up his cross daily…” That goes beyond cool new adventure…because following Him means I actually have to die moment by moment to my selfishness and lust and greed…to my ideas of what security looks like and my independence from Him.

Honestly, I have no idea what we’re doing, or where we’re going, and it’s more than a little scary. He just hasn’t let us in on His plan yet. And that is frustrating at times. And I’ve not reacted very well. I’ve felt resentment and self-pity and anger and out of control, and I just want Jeff to be able to get a job so that we’ll be somewhat secure again. But Matthew 10 says, “If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find yourself and me.” Emerson said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

The pathway is broken
And The signs are unclear
And I don’t know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I’m gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to

Cause I’m not who I was
When I took my first step
And I’m clinging to the promise You’re not through with me yet
so if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will walk through the fire
If You want me to
-“If You Want Me To” by Ginny Owens

I found this quote a long time ago that says, “I do not understand it, but I just keep trusting my good Shepherd that He will not lead me any place He does not want me to follow.” So, I guess it’s the merry go round for me just as long as He wants it to be…


1 Response to “Follow Me”

  1. 1 TW
    October 23, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Kim and Jeff,

    I graduated from Pioneer with Jeff in May 1987. I was saddened to learn of Pioneer’s financial difficulties. In 1987 President Reagan was President of the U.S., Dr. Bruce was President of Pioneer, and the future for our graduating class was bright. The Lord blessed me with a knack for mathematics and the sciences, and I was our class valedictorian. I am sure Jeff knows who I am. I would very much like to attend your church and catch up. Please keep in touch.

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