In the passage I’m looking at today, I read about how Jesus recruited some of his first followers (its Luke, chapter 5, verses 1-11). Or did he? I mean, there’s no poster campaign (Your messiah needs YOU!, or my personal favourite ‘Jesus wants YOU for a sunbeam!’), there’s no formal interview or application, there’s no appeal from the front for help or even a police check… Instead Jesus hangs around with a guy, visits his home (where incidentally he heals his mother-in-law… that has to get you some brownie points in a family context!), asks him for a favour (can we use your boat, Simon?) and then, then has the audacity to comment on how Simon the fisherman does his current job. Hello- this is a carpenter telling a fisherman how to catch fish… so rude.
But, because they know each other by now (ah, the mist begins to clear…), Simon doesn’t tell Jesus to get out of his boat, which would have been interesting, but gives his advice a try, maybe with fairly minimal expectations.
The result? the biggest catch of the day, the week, possibly ever.
The outcome? Simon knows he’s not just in presence of greatness, but of the divine. ‘Get away from me, I’m unclean’… so different from our cults of hero worship where we just want to get a picture or a signature without hoping for any real contact.
And so Simon and his friends leave everything, to follow Jesus…to be disciples. See, what I’m realising is that Jesus didn’t come to lead, but to follow (I can only do what I see my Father doing), and he didn’t tell other people to lead, but to follow (come with me, follow me, wait for the Spirit)…
I’ve been called to lead other people and to lead a community, but the truth is that at the centre of that leadership is my own following of Jesus. When we think about who’s leading us, maybe we should be asking who they’re following?