A children’s game from long ago involved getting all participants in a line, and one individual was selected to be the leader. Every person was to keep watching and doing everything the leader did. If he took giant steps, everyone in the game had to stay in line and take a giant step at the very place he did. There was a lot of raising of one arm, then two, twisting, jumping, skipping, and hopping. One thing you really learned from the game was to follow the leader.
The truth is that sometimes it was far more difficult to be a follower than to be a leader. The same is true in our spiritual lives. We need to learn how important it is to follow the leader.
We need to learn to follow the leader, but we really need to learn to follow the Leader. That Leader is our Lord, and the Bible has so many verses emphasizing this truth. Paul said, “imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). Peter said, “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Pet. 2:21). A good way to look at this is to think about the path our Leader has taken and where He is now. If we keep following Him, imitating Him, we shall someday be where He is now. Hebrews 6:20 describes Him as our forerunner who has already entered that Holy Place where we someday will go.
The leader of the game could sometimes make it too difficult to follow him. Obviously, Jesus is not this way, but leaders in the church and in our homes can easily make this mistake. I was the youngest of the four children in our family and the youngest when a large number of cousins were part of the game. The best leaders never forgot what it was like when they were younger and with great compassion made it challenging and yet enjoyable for those who had less ability than many. We need to thank God for godly, caring and compassionate leaders in the body of Jesus.
There were times when those who were not the leader, but who were ahead of you in the line, did not follower the leader. They took it on themselves to get in charge of the game. When this happened, the game fell apart. Think of how this applies to spiritual leaders and followers in our day. It also emphasizes how important it is to be a good follower.
This month we are focusing our attention on becoming stronger leaders. Parents lead, elders lead, older brothers and sisters lead, deacons lead as do teachers and preachers. You may not see yourself as a leader, but rest assured others are watching you. The important thing is for us to never forget the one who is the Leader of all of us.
Isn’t it rather amazing what lesson you can learn even as a child which helps you throughout all your life!