Following the Leader - Pick up the cross

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23

Yesterday I was listening to the radio while driving home from Oskaloosa and heard a teaching about the Parable of the Talents. It’s easy to focus on all the “nice” things about Christianity - God’s love, his mercy, and the like - and gloss over the (no pun intended) dead serious parts. Specifically that we are all called to be Jesus’ disciples, and that call has a price and a commitment.

For this Thursday I chose a devotional from Our Daily Bread called “Following the Leader.” The author, who lives near an air force base, writes about his wonder at watching fighter jets zip through the air above in tight formations, moving with precision and perfect harmony. How does this happen? He writes, How can they fly so close together and not lose control? One obvious reason, I learned, is humility. Trusting that the lead pilot is traveling at precisely the correct speed and trajectory, the wing pilots surrender any desire to switch directions or question their leader’s path. Instead, they get in formation and closely follow. The result? A more powerful team.

Following Jesus is much the same - we take our eyes off ourselves and focus instead on Jesus Christ. He guides us through the path of life, a journey that often includes hardship, suffering, and self-sacrifice. However, when we do this we walk united with our Savior, gaining strength and reflecting the image of Christ to a world who desperately needs him - truly being his hands and feet. Let’s follow the leader together and help bring real joy to the world this Christmas!