March 07, 2012


1 Kings 19:19-21

“Come, follow me.”
—Mark 1:17


The importance of leadership is neither doubted nor debated—in government, education, business, or church.

Elisha, like most leaders, begins as a follower. Elijah finds him plowing in his family’s field and summons Elisha to follow him, just as God has directed (1 Kings 19:16).

Elijah throws his cloak over Elisha, a symbol of anointing him for leadership.

Then, after literally burning his “bridge” (a yoke is a bridge between two oxen) behind him, Elisha sets out to follow Elijah and become his servant.

When Jesus calls his disciples, the recurring word is not “Lead for me” but “Follow me.”

To Peter he says, “Feed my sheep,” not “Lead my sheep.” And when he examines Peter, Jesus examines Peter’s love for him, not his leadership skills (see John 21:15-17).

Pastors are gifted, commissioned leaders in Jesus’ church. So they are called to lead people—first to faith in Christ, and then to maturity in faith. And the heart of that maturity is simply to follow Christ. There is no better way to lead for Christ than to follow hard after Christ.

Lent is a good time to ask, “Am I following Christ wholeheartedly?”

Father, in this season, grip our hearts so that we may willingly and faithfully follow Jesus. In his name we hope and pray. Amen.

About the author — Dale Vander Veen

Dale Vander Veen is a retired Christian Reformed pastor who with his wife, Edith, has ministered in California, Washington, and Michigan. They have three married children and six grandchildren. He currently writes a daily e-mail series of devotions.

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