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Leader and Follower?

Leader and Follower?

   There are many who desire to be leaders. Some do so for the prestige or power they think they will have as a leader.   Some are naturally inclined to be leaders and others are naturally inclined to take the role of a follower.   What determines this is often how a person sees him or herself in a particular situation.

   What makes the difference between a leader and a follower? A leader is one who is stimulated to make a difference and is someone who motivates their followers to believe in something much greater than their own existence.  But, a follower is someone who is attracted to the purpose and vision of the leader and in turn helps the leader achieve his or her objectives.  

   Among the folks that teach motivation among corporations and companies, there are those who correctly teach that every leader is a follower and every follower is also a leader.   One such line of thinking goes something like: To Be a Good Leader, First Be a Good Follower. ... In essence, they learn key “followership” lessons that will serve them well when they become leaders. According to Barbara Kellerman, a leadership lecturer at Harvard University, there is a lot a person can learn about being a good leader by being a good follower.   While this is true and also important, why is the emphasis on “what or Who one follows” being largely ignored? Some have even been taught to follow their own consciences.   Where does the Bible teach this? Does our conscience “lead” us or does it “follow” us?  

   When Jesus called His disciples, those who would begin preaching the message of the kingdom after the Lord purchased the church, He used two simple Words. They were: Follow me. These men were expected to follow Jesus while He was here on earth, and also follow His teaching after He returned to His Father, when He had done His Father’s Will and provided the sacrifice that was required to remit the sins of those who will be obedient to the N.T. Word of God.  

   However, while here with them, Christ taught His disciples that they were also to become great leaders. In Mathew 19:27 Peter speaks of the cost of discipleship after the Lord had pointed out the fallacy of trusting in riches. Peter also asks what they could expect to receive. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?  Then in vs 28 Jesus told them how they were going to be leaders.   And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  But what does this scripture mean?   It does not mean that they were to sit on physical thrones. The thrones being referenced were spiritual in nature. The “regeneration” is the “Christian age” (the time of the new birth). The “judging” of the “twelve tribes” (the church) was the apostles delivering the gospel message, first starting at Pentecost, A.D. 33 in Jerusalem and ultimately spreading to the whole world .

   Luke 24:47 shows the scope of the “leading” the apostles would do. And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  But, Luke 24:49 shows at the same time that the apostles would indeed be followers and Who would be leading them. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on highThis event would help them not only be leaders in the cause for which Christ died, but also would help them as they continued to follow the Lord.  As they, and other men received the Word of God from the Spirit and delivered it to those that would hear, were leading others. Then, as they heeded the Word the Spirit delivered to them, they also were following the Lord.  

   This continues even today. No faithful Christian will deny that they are also to be disciples, or followers of Christ.    In Matthew 28:16-18 the eleven disciples (apostles elect) went where Christ had told them to go, When Jesus came to them He told them of His authority. Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Then we read the Great Commission in vss 19-20. In this passage we are given the directive to follow the command of the Savior, as well as the command to lead others to Him through His gospel. It reads: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.

   Anyone can see that this commandment is perpetual.   All who are not doing as this commandment teaches is not following the Will of God. 2Peter 3:9 shows what God’s Will is. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  Are you “following” and “leading”?   If not, you cannot be pleasing to God and will not receive eternal life. Think about it. Obey now!  

               Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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