Follow Me!

We all like having attention.  There is a group at our church, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church,  making a concerted effort to increase our church’s social media presence.  We want people to “like” our Facebook page.  We want people to follow us on Twitter.  We will be launching an Instagram account soon.  All of this is so that the church can reach out to the larger community.  We want to share who we are so that the community knows that we are here for them.  We want to be a vital part of the community.

     As we have been more active on social media, some of our tweets have mentioned others on twitter.  We mentioned a gospel singer.  He then followed us!  Having someone well known would really help expand our church’s visibility.  I was so excited when we got the email.  Unfortunately, I think it was a mistake.  He stopped following us just as quickly as he started following us.  It is understandable because it is easy to accidentally touch the follow button on an electronic device.  While it is understandable, it was disappointing.  We had an endorsement, but then it was taken away.
     Sometimes we live our Christian lives the same way.  We profess our faith loudly and openly.  We proclaim on Sunday morning that we will leave our nets and follow Jesus.  We proclaim that we want to follow Jesus, but then we quickly pull our support when things become difficult.  When we say we will follow, we mean we will follow until it is uncomfortable or inconvenient.  Jesus doesn’t ask for us to follow periodically or occasionally.  We are invited to follow always.  We are invited to follow when we are in our neighborhoods.  We are invited to follow when it means inviting others to join us for worship.  We are invited to follow when it means doing a new or inconvenient thing.
     St. Paul’s United Methodist Church may have quickly lost a follower on twitter, but we can be true to following Christ.  You are invited to follow Jesus.

Choices Along the Way

We all make lots of choices.  We choose what we will have for
dinner.  We choose who to include in our lives.  We choose our marital status.  Some choices are more significant that others.  Some choices require us to persist on a journey that may not be the easiest way.  Consider how we learn to do a new thing – walk, ride a bike, play golf.  Whatever the new thing is, most of us are not experts at the beginning.  We must practice.  We must keep trying.  We must decide if this is something we want to continue to try.  We continue to make a choice to persist in our endeavor.  With persistence, we gradually improve.  We grow confident.  We grow more certain of our conviction.  Our persistence is rewarded.

Elisha was persistent.  Elisha made choices to be a prophet.  First, he made a choice to go with Elijah.  Elisha was in the field with the oxen.  Elijah threw his mantle over Elisha.  Elisha could have just thrown off the mantle.  He could have rejected the calling, the anointing, that Elijah was giving him. Yet, he chooses to begin the journey with Elijah.  We don’t hear much about Elisha’s choices until the last journey with Elijah.  In 2 Kings 2:1-18, we see Elijah and Elisha on a journey.  Three times Elijah tells Elisha to wait.  Each time Elisha persists.  Elisha chooses to stay on the journey with Elijah.  He chooses to stay with Elijah.  He chooses to stay on the journey.
Are we choosing to stay on the journey that God has for us, or do we give up and go home?  When the journey requires more of us, do we give up or keep going?  Do we grow stronger in our conviction, or do we give up at the first sign of difficulty? God calls us to keep moving forward.  God calls us to do the work to which we have been called.  We will not be masters at serving at the beginning.  In fact, it may take our whole lives to learn how to be the person God has created us to be.  God doesn’t call us to be perfect disciples at the beginning of our discipleship.  God calls us to persist in our discipleship. Stay the course.