Here is a question every leader of people asks himself/herself at one time or another.
When Jesus looked out over the masses who followed him, I wonder if He asked himself this same question. As He counted, in His mind, the healings and considered all who he helped, I wonder if he pondered how many would come after him.
Of course they would follow him to the next miracle. They would follow Him to the next free dinner. They would be there to hear him preach again, but would they follow him all the way to the cross.
People are fickle. Have you noticed this? It doesn't take much to turn their heads. You can spend all your energy helping them and teaching them, but when something/someone flashier comes along, off they go
It's no wonder we are likened to sheep in the scriptures. Sheep are wanderers. If the shepherd is not watchful, his sheep will simply wander off. They don't mean to leave the shepherd really. They just found a patch of grass that is greener and so off they go.
I look at the ministry of Jesus and I am dumfounded at the throngs of people he could gather. So many on the sea shore that he would have to launch out on a boat to talk to them. Thousands were there the day he multiplied the little boys lunch. They pressed against him. They cried out to him from the edges of the crowds. They climbed into trees to see him. They tore the roof off of houses to get to where He was at. Yet I believe he had one question in His mind every time he saw them press in. "How many will follow?"
Each time you get in front of the group you minister to, do you ask yourself this question? How many will follow me? How many will live the way I teach? How many will stay strong to the faith? How many will be saved?
Can you imagine how He must have felt when He looked out from where He hung on the cross and saw only a very small handful of people? I suppose, if it was me hanging there and I saw only John, Jesus' mother and a couple of others, I would feel like a total failure. I would go back in my mind to all of those who I had helped and I would wonder where I went wrong. What could I have done differently that would have enabled them to "Make it".
When I look back over my years of ministry, I see the faces of many people whom I reached out to, yet off they went for greener pastures. I tried my best. I gave it everything I had. I preached my guts out. I counseled until late in the night. I made myself available to them. I loved them. I helped them heal. I blessed them. Yet today, they are gone. Well that's enough about people who are fickle. That's enough about the unthankful. And that's enough about the (Please excuse me for this one.) knuckleheads who are too stubborn to get saved. Now let's talk about the ones who followed.
Let's talk about John. He's a breath of fresh air. He's a blessing to a hardworking leaders heart. When nobody else shows up, he's there. When everyone else has run off, he stays right there with you. He's your right arm. He's your strength. He's the reason you keep giving. He, is why you keep doing. He is why you hang there in your moment of agony. He is why you sacrifice yourself.
How many will follow? There's no telling. Maybe thousands. Maybe only one. If there are thousands, wow. If there is one, wow again. The fact of the matter is, we are not to judge the harvest. We are not to number the people. When we do these things, we are adding up our own successes. Just ask King David. He found that God will not share His glory with anyone.
How many will follow, should not be what get's us up in the morning. It should not be what sends us into our places of prayer, study or labor. It should not be the thing that drives us or encourages us. How many will follow has nothing to do with your ability or your burden. It has to do with that person and their desire to live for God. Try as you may, you cannot make their decisions for them. You cannot live for God for them. And you cannot follow for them. You can only lead.
So Lead! Lead strong! Lead fearless! Lead faithful!
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