I join with the Five Minute Friday community of writers in this weekly five-minute writing exercise. This week is the word “follow.”
To be followed is an honor. Each time I see a new “follower” on my blog or Facebook page or Twitter, I get excited. Yet the following of social media connections is a far cry from the original following Jesus discussed. He said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Not only does it sound odd to be invited to be a “fisher of men” but “follow” can feel vapid. I am fine with following Jesus social-media style, meaning that I check in with him when I feel interested in knowing how he’s doing and see if there’s anything particularly new or interesting he’d like to share with me. Following is very much on my terms, and the pace is leisurely.
Yet when Jesus asked his disciples to follow him, he was asking them to leave behind their former way of life entirely and join with him in his nomadic travels on a journey that would end with the horror of the cross and the surprise of resurrection. He was inviting them to yoke themselves to him, to be his 24/7 disciples who would eat every meal with him and learn at his feet daily. This is quite different than when I have a “follower” on Twitter. More often than not, it’s not someone I know or even am likely to meet. They are “following” me when they don’t know much about me – nothing more than what I’m revealing in small intermittent and infrequent bits, limited to 21 characters. And the same is true when I choose to “follow” them back.
To truly follow Jesus requires more commitment. It requires nothing less than all of me, heart, mind, and soul.