You are responsible for your own life – stop blaming others

Don’t waste your life on idle pursuits! Know what you are pursuing and why you are following so that the value will be recognised and the price paid willingly.

1 Corinthians 11:1(KJV 1900) Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

Much has been written about being a visionary – but for every leader there must be followers. How does a ‘follower’ evaluate their own hearts and embrace a worthy vision? (As an aside any covenantal relationship, such as marriage, is visionary. To participate in the ideal of divine order – marriage – as set out in Scripture it should be embraced, its value a prize worthy of the cost of living and loving in the midst of broken, fallen humanity.)

There are three types of people who follow a leader/visionary. They are identified by their response to the value of the vision, which is measured by the price paid. Jesus’ vision was to die on the cross to save the world from sin. Not a small or easy price to pay. He called people to join him in this endeavour, to take up their own cross and follow him. Did he and his disciples believe it was worth it? Judas didn’t think so. Nor did the crowds who one day said Hosanna and the next yelled crucify him.

Disciples of Jesus were not identified in the crowds during the good times, they were notable  in the absence of the crowds; found at the cross… when death was at hand… they didn’t follow a crowd or a spectacle but a vision and a calling…

Apostle Paul – the visionary

An apostle is a good example of a visionary or an entrepreneur. Such people have a clear vision and a passion to pursue that vision, willingly engaging in and paying the price for its ultimate attainment. A visionary is, from a Christian perspective, a person called of God and given a vision to embrace and pursue.

Philippians 3:14(ESV) I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

A visionary is focussed on the attainment of a goal and, by nature of the calling, attracts and even asks and encourages others to participate in the quest. It is not a call to follow a person, but a call to participate in laying a hold of “the advancing Kingdom” in this day.

Unfortunately, human nature is fickle and there is no telling what it is that ‘followers’ have actually embraced. Are they participating for the ‘loaves and fishes’, are they following because they idolise a person, or have they seen and become enamoured with the vision, agreeing that the pursuit is worthy of their own lives, a quest worth pursuing?

Is it a journey of personal profit? Is it embarked upon because the visionary is great in human eyes? Or is it a journey that is great in itself?

Great people attempt great things because they are great: fools attempt them because they think its easy!

The following passage shows something of Paul’s followers as he moved toward paying the ultimate price of the calling:

2 Timothy 4:9–16(ESV) Do your best to come to me soon. 10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. 12 Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15 Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. 16 At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!

The three notable examples of followers can be seen in this address of Paul to Timothy – and it is in line with Jesus’ teaching of the sower and the seed in Luke 8:4-15.

So they are:

  1. Demas – One who followed a ‘great man’ but not a ‘great vision’. These followers have no real heart for the vision. They are enamoured by, and inadvertently become, worshippers of the visionary. They have no self-awareness or understanding of the meaning of the cross of Christ or His gospel of the Kingdom. They follow a man rather than God, until they discover they are not on a pleasure cruiser but a battleship. The vision is not a holiday destination for tourists but a construction site for workers.

Such a person is ‘in love with this world’. Simply put there hearts are rocky. They seem to grow and flourish but when the going gets tough, when they are tested and find they are actually accompanying a person leading them in the way of the cross, they desert the vision and the visionary. The cost is too great for the pain to be endured.

  1. Alexander – was one whose singular purpose was to do Paul harm. Like Judas such people seek personal gain. They follow because others are following and they believe they can have some advantage.

Like Korah who opposed Moses, or Absalom against David: they seek to possess the followers of the vision, but in their eyes it requires the destruction of the visionary and the mission. These are the ‘thorny hearts’ that are driven by pride or possessions or pleasure.

  1. Luke – a man who knows himself and His God. He didn’t follow Paul because he thought Paul a great man or a god; he followed because he believed in the mission. And he was convinced his place was beside a man Christ had called to pursue the Kingdom in his time in history. A good heart that holds fast to the truth no matter the outcomes.

Conclusion – A visionary cannot excuse a follower from personal accountability

Matthew 25:23(ESV) His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

You are responsible for your own life. What you embrace, where you go, the price you pay, the people you journey with, the vision you seek to possess.

Amos 3:3(ESV) “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?

Don’t waste your life on idle pursuits! Know what you are pursuing and why you are following so that the value will be recognised and the price paid willingly.

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