Being a disciple of Jesus is being a follower of Jesus. We know what it means to follow. As children we play “Simon Says” and “Follow the Leader” where we follow our leader as exactly as we can like little ducks following the big duck. In the farmyard, when Mama Duck invites her ducklings to join her for a walk, she is the first in line, deciding where to go, by what route and how fast. The ducklings keep an eye on Mama and do what Mama does. They learn their way around the farm by following Mama. They learn to swim by swimming with Mama. They learn how to find food by finding it with Mama. They don’t follow Mama just because they love her. By following her around, day after day, little ducks learn how to be big ducks. And as big ducks, many will teach little ducks of their own someday.
Jesus is the Big Duck. He led his first disciples so that they would one day be able to lead disciples of their own who one day would be able to lead disciples of their own. Jesus is always the leader of our small groups, too. Little ducks are taught to be big ducks who lead little ducks of their own. It is that way in nature and it is that way in the Kingdom of God that is breaking in and replacing the world we currently know. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we follow Jesus’ teachings. We follow His example. We follow His instructions. Let’s just be clear: Jesus is in charge. He is our teacher, mentor, and commanding officer. He decides the way we should go and we obediently do our part. But this does not mean, as too many assume, that we are mindless drones guided by remote control. Nothing could be further from the truth. We will soon see that it is the world around us that is shuffling along mindlessly on autopilot. It takes no effort at all to simply follow the crowd. It takes no effort to follow what feels good, seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. It takes heroic amounts of self control to choose to give our lives and obedience to the cause of God. Remember what the cause of God really is. God really only desires three things:
1.God desires an intimate love relationship with us that lasts forever.
2. God wants to help us love and care for each other.
3. God invites us to help God change the world for the better.
That is what Jesus spent his time on this earth doing. It is what he taught his first disciples to do. It is what they passed on to as many other people as they could. Make no mistake, we are discipled in order to disciple others who will in time disciple others. At some point, after growing with Jesus in a small group, we will each gather others in a brand new small group of our own. Those new disciples who follow Jesus will eventually do the same. It is as natural as the changing of the seasons.