Following and Leading

Does This Really Exist?
Does This Really Exist?

Social media appears to be this nested thought process – find someone to follow (or be-friend), and hopefully someone will follow (or be-friend) me.  Especially as there are a variety of media sites to get involved in, I find it confusing where I happen to have experienced something.

Let’s see… Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Google+, Instagram, AboutMe, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine…

Whew… Before you know it your social connections look like a freeway spaghetti bowl.

Early this morning, one minister who I follow on several different social connections retweeted something that someone else had posted, which was a retweet of something he himself had posted. I thought. So, I started following the rabbit trail to see who really had tweeted the original thought.

I could not figure it out!

It looked like they got into a nested pattern of continually re-tweeting the others re-tweet of their message. Who began the first tweet? Impossible to tell after following the pathway through a dozen retweets!

Isn’t this about how it goes?!! Back in 1978. I worked for Gray Tool Company. We had merged with Combustion Engineering and they were building a new backup data center across the street. Our company was unloading our IBM 370/135 DOS/VS Power mainframe. My boss, Dee Singh, was our Data Center Director and he came up with a wild experiment. Let’s write a routine, that called a routine, that called the routine that we originally wrote. “Let’s see if we can force the mainframe to get into a loop and cause it to crash!” Simple, right? A routine that calls a routine, that calls another routine which calls the first routine. Simple… Several hours later we threw up our hands in despair. Nothing seemed to bring down this workhorse from IBM.

There is something logical about a repeatable process that replicates itself into another linked process. It often produces growth of similar process that are an image of their creator, or beginner. Cellular biology?

In the New Testament, Jesus begins the principle we see at work in the church today as he called men to start following him. One example of his call was like this.

Mat 4:18-20  And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.  (19)  And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.  (20)  And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

What did Peter and Andrew see in Jesus that they immediately left their livelihood to follow him? Was it his wealth, stature, commanding presence, sensible logic, or popularity?

Of course, we know it was none of these things. But surely something was at work that made this life changing event occur! We understand with 20/20 historical view that Jesus called these men to reach humanity with a life changing Gospel message that would turn the world upside down!

These Followers became Leaders!

Even the Apostle Paul had followers who followed him because he himself was following Christ! (Philippians 3:12-14; 2Thess 3:9)

We often struggle with following certain people because we see their imperfections, or we dislike their politics or personality. The one person we often work hard at following is the doctor. When it comes to our health we strive to “follow the doctors orders.”

I have been around a few people who struggle with taking direction. Of course, I often compare them to myself and if they are not as nimble on their feet as I am when it comes to receiving direction then I wonder… Hmm…. What’s their problem?

Give me directions to your house and generally I will remember the pertinent details and will end up at your doorstep. If the directions get a little complex, then I make a quick minimal drawing with my finger on a hard surface – this generally gives me a mental image to follow. If they are even more complex I may use a pencil and paper and draw it out. But if your directions are so convoluted then I question whether you can lead me to your destination!

This is often the way we approach people with the message of Christ. We may treat the Gospel message as a Network Marketing message – drawing circles and showing the growth of the followers as we continue to follow the one ahead of us.  When I think about all the wasted effort in sharing the simple message of Christ and I tried to make it complex … I simply shake my head. We are each called to follow, but then we are also called to lead. Follow Christ, Lead someone to Christ.

It’s really simple – I am called to follow, so that I can lead!