FollowingJune 20th, 2012 by Anthony Bosman
It’s summer! As a college student, these are a precious few months. Hence many months ago, I lined up my summer plans. It included working for an awesome summer camp I’ve worked with before where along with some great friends I get paid (really well) to hang out with incredible teens all day. Better yet, it is only a month, so I’d have another month to enjoy with family and friends at home. Perhaps best of all, it’s a job where I know God can use me to be a blessing to others. Sometimes it is easy to follow Jesus.
Sometimes it’s not. Such as a few months ago when I began to realize that my summer plans didn’t agree with God’s summer plans for me. Another summer job presented itself to me. It didn’t sound nearly as fun, didn’t pay nearly as much, didn’t seem to fit my personality, and didn’t leave me with a month of free time. Understandably, I wasn’t excited when God made it clear that it was His plan for me.
The tough thing about following is you don’t get to set the terms.
Like when the scribe came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go” (Matt. 8:19). Jesus’ response indicates the man thought he could follow in a fashion that would be easy, perhaps staying at the finest hotels. But Jesus explained, “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matt. 8:20). When we follow Jesus, he determines the “how.”
Or when another said he would follow at a better time, requesting, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father” (Matt. 8:21). But Jesus told him to follow right then (Matt. 8:22), setting the “when.”
In my case, he set the “where.” I wanted to follow Jesus to an awesome summer job I had lined up, but that wasn’t where he was leading this year.
Which is odd, because I believe Jesus was leading when I worked with this camp in the past. Furthermore, I saw ways he could use me there again this year.
But it has become clear, Jesus isn’t leading me there this year. And I can only follow where he is leading. Anything else would be fleeing, not following.*
I’m about to begin this other summer job—selling Christian books—and am excited to learn why God has led me here. But there are already two lessons I’ve learned:
1. When we follow Jesus, he sets the terms. I can only call myself a follower when I accept the terms he has stipulated.
2. Jesus is dynamic. He doesn’t always lead to the same place. What was once right, may become rebellion. I must be actively seeking where he is leading me today.
It may require apparent sacrifice, forfeiting our seemingly good desires, and leaving the familiar, but never hesitate to follow Jesus. You can trust his leading.
Has Jesus ever led you somewhere contrary to your plans? How did it turn out? Where is he leading you today? Feel free to share below.
*The awesome thing about our God is that should we flee, He will pursue. Think Jonah. But how could we flee from such a great God?