Yesterday, I drove to an appointment. On the way there, I got stuck in traffic. The road I was on normally flows fine. But it was backed up for some reason.
The three cars ahead of me took a left-hand turn and went down a different road. One I’ve never been on before. I assumed it was a detour and these three people knew how to short-circuit the traffic to get on the main street where I was headed.
Well, after following them for a whole 5 minutes, they each broke in different directions. Each car ended up in different parking lots in the same neighborhood. Hmmm . . .
After about 10 minutes of getting lost in a maze of cul-de-sacs and dead ends, I found my way back to the very road I was stuck on. The traffic was gone this time (15 minutes later).
One of my spiritual disciplines is to ask the Lord why something out-of-the-ordinary happens . . . as I believe my “steps are ordered” and everything happens for a reason (Psalm 37:23).
Sometimes He reveals the reasons; other times He doesn’t.
All told, the whole ordeal brought a point home to my heart.
Before you follow someone’s spiritual direction, make sure you know where they’re headed. Be clear on their destination . . . their goal. Don’t assume you know.
And never follow just because others are following.
On the road yesterday, I gave in to a human instinct: To follow the crowd, assuming that their goal was the same as mine.
Amid the traffic, the three cars ahead of me made the same turn. So I thought to myself, “Surely, they know a detour to get us out of this bottle neck. I’ll follow them.”
I was wrong. They were all headed to different places. None of which was the road I needed to be on.
Think about the ministries you currently “follow” (i.e., receive from spiritually) and ask: Is their destination Jesus Christ or is it some cause, fad, or other goal? Are they leading me to HIM? Are they giving me Christ?
As I explained in The Myth of Christian Leadership, every Christian leads in some arena. And we all follow the “leads” of others in one way or another.
But the destination of such leadership must be the Lord Jesus Christ. For He alone is God’s Center and Goal.
In many cases where Christ is the supreme goal, the crowds who follow aren’t terribly large.
For me (at least), one of the greatest compliments that can ever be paid a servant of God is,
“He/she gave me Christ, a breathtaking vision of God’s eternal purpose in Him, an example of how to return good for evil, and a heart for the poor and the oppressed. He/she gave me Jesus.”
May these words be true for all who have put their hand to the plow of God’s work.