Day 29: {Follow} Jesus and bring some friends with you

It’s late on Day 29 with two days remaining to complete the 31-day writing challenge.  It feels a bit like I’ve hit a wall and yet I know the finish line is in sight.  I have no intention of quitting, however, I will admit I might be walking somewhat bent over with my hand on my side rather than jogging right about now.

As I ponder today’s word prompt {follow} and the two remaining word prompts – {refine} and {rest} – I’m reminded of the three major truths I’ve gleaned from Holy Spirit through the book of Ruth.  What an amazing journey it’s been!  Lord, I am counting on You to help me finish strong…

follow{Follow} – Jesus called His disciples with an invitation, “Come, follow Me.”  And they did literally drop what they were doing and followed after Jesus.  They left work, family, homes and everything secure and familiar for the great unknown adventure of accepting Jesus’ invitation.

After Jesus’ resurrection, He met with His disciples and commissioned them to go, with all they had learned by following Him and bring others along by sharing the invitation to follow Jesus.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 niv

 

For a number of years, I’ve described my journey through life with eyes on Jesus by way of an illustration:

I’ve got one arm extended out in front of me holding onto the belt loop of a dear sister in Christ who has traveled the road just ahead of me, and I’ve got the other arm extended back to grasp the hand of a dear sister coming along behind.

We’re all following Jesus, wanting to know Him more intimately, and keeping our ears tuned to the sound of His Shepherd-voice giving direction to our path.  While at the same time, we’re grabbing the hands of our sisters to come along with us.  We want to introduce others to Him – to live free and experience abundant life – and join us on the adventure journey.  Who wants to travel alone anyway!

I’m not sure I know of a more beautiful portrait of relational discipleship as the one God painted for us in the book of Ruth.  No matter the reason, Naomi found herself living in Moab with a people, not her own, who worshipped idols rather than Yahweh, the Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and her.

Rather than isolating herself or bending her beliefs in order to fit in, Naomi lived her faith in front of her daughters in law.  I think they understood Naomi’s heart was still attached to Yahweh and her people back in Bethlehem of Judah.  For as soon as Naomi heard the good news of God’s favor to break the famine and restore the harvest, she packed her bags and headed toward home leading her daughters in law along the way.

girl in wheat 31 days

The women came to an inevitable fork in the road.  Naomi would follow her heart back home.  However, Naomi was returning wounded, possibly wearing a cloak of shame and fearing she might be rejected by her people… and possibly God.  So, she offered the young women the opportunity to leave her and go back to their families.  It was completely their choice.

And this is where the radiant beauty of relational discipleship shines most bright.  The younger one who had been following along hand extended forward to Naomi’s hand reaching back, became the one to take the lead for awhile.  When Naomi chose to change her name to bitter because of her pain, loss, and disappointment, Ruth stepped forward to remind Naomi of Yahweh – Almighty God to whom Naomi had been introducing Ruth.

Each of us faces these inevitable forks in the road – the moments of choice.  Truly the point is not for anyone to follow me while I follow Jesus.  Rather it is my responsibility to point to Jesus and insist we each keep our eyes focused on Him.

And really there’s just not many events in life more disappointing and sad than to watch someone turn back to their former life of idols.  At the same time, there’s almost nothing better than to be reminded of truth and directed toward Jesus by a precious one you’ve previously discipled.  What a JOY feast!

At this, they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her. “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.” 

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.  When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.  So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem.  Ruth 1:14-16, 18-19 niv

I’m refreshed in this dry famine season as I realize God in the book of Ruth purposely foreshadowed Jesus’ call to His disciples to follow Him and to bring others along.  I’m encouraged once again to keep walking with one hand holding onto the belt loop of a sister ahead of me.  I’m emboldened to reach a hand back to one or ones coming along behind. go make disciples.png

And I look forward with great anticipation to the moments when the discipled becomes the discipler – iron sharpens iron – each one encouraged, strengthened and pointed toward Jesus.  We all have our eyes on Jesus.  We’ve accepted His invitation and heed His command, “Come, follow Me.  Therefore go and make disciples…”

Ponders:

  • Do you see a picture of discipleship in the book of Ruth?  What specifically about the relationship between Ruth and Naomi is highlighted for your understanding in a fresh way today?
  • Do you have those ahead of you on the faith journey who will reach a hand back to help you along?  I wonder if you might want to write their names in your journal and write a special prayer of thanksgiving to the Father for bringing those precious people along your path.
  • Are you reaching back with a hand held out to at least one other who is coming along behind you on the faith journey?  Will also write their name in your journal and stop now to pray God’s blessing and favor on him or her today?
  • If you’ve received Jesus’ invitation to {follow} Him, have you also made a conscious effort to bring others along with you?
    • If not, would you make this a matter of conversation with God?  Will you ask Him to change your heart or open doors of opportunity to bring others along in discipleship?

Eyes on Jesus… you’re Shining!

~Lisa


2 thoughts on “Day 29: {Follow} Jesus and bring some friends with you

  1. I remember Pastor Buddy asking us “ who is your Paul, who is your Timothy in your walk with Jesus?”.
    Now I see that in the book of Ruth. What a good picture to see us holding on together in following Jesus. Thanks!

    Like

    1. Oh Carol! Thanks for reminding me of Pastor Buddy and his question. I remember. You, I hope you know, have been one whose belt loop I’ve grasped more than a time or two!
      Thank you for praying with me and pointing me back to Jesus!
      💝💝💝

      Like

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