Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?
--John Bell, “The Summons”

In my family being a follower was not a desirable role. In the Christian life, though, we must learn to follow God and to allow ourselves to be led by the model of the Good Shepherd.

In my own journey, “running out ahead of God” has been a challenge. Especially when I first returned to the church and was filled with the ardor for new paths of ministry, I plunged headlong into everything. I would pray for guidance and wait—for a while—but if I hadn’t gotten a clear sense of direction (from any of the ways I learned to “hear” God), I just launched out in the direction I chose-- or the direction my ego chose. Of course, discernment is challenging— but often I was just impatient—as so many of us are in this culture.

Other reasons for not following well are that our lives are too cluttered to even hear divine direction, fear of what God will ask of us, fear of loss of control, concern over loss of importance or, on the opposing pole, reticence at being called into the light of leadership.

However, if we are on the path of spiritual transformation, we learn that whether we “follow well” or not, God will teach us all we need to know. But there’s something about “hooking elbows” with Jesus and hitting the road together, something about feeling the current of our lives flowing with the confluence of God’s-stream that is exciting and peaceful all at once.

Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In your company I’ll go where your love and footsteps show.
Thus I’ll move and live and grow in you and you in me. Amen.
(John Bell)

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