| One day as Jesus was passing along
the highway, a man said to him, "I will follow thee
whithersoever thou goest" (Luke 9:57). This man no doubt
was greatly impressed by the wonderful works and noble
character of Christ. He thought that companionship with
such a man would be full of blessing and richness. Just
to see and hear would be worth any man's time and
effort--to hear the gracious words that came from His
lips would enrich mind and heart; to see the mighty
works done would inspire. To him it seemed to be one of
the most desirable of all things. Christ's answer to
him, however, showed that following Him might well mean
something more than this man had ever considered. His
way did not always lead through pleasant places; His
path was not always to be rose-strewn; not always would
the multitude look on Him with favor. Whether this man
followed Jesus we are not told, but following evidently
meant more to him now than it had meant before.
many today who, like that man of old, say, "Lord, I will
follow thee," with no clear idea of what it means. It
was not hard to follow him when the multitude shouted,
"Hosanna!" and threw palm-branches before him. It is
easy for us to follow him today when his cause is
popular, when people are proclaiming the truth of what
we teach and approving of our service. It is no task to
follow when it brings praise and admiration. It is no
task to follow in the calm after his "Peace, be still,"
on Gennesaret. Who would not follow gladly to the mount
of transfiguration to behold his glory? But to follow
him "whithersoever" means more than this.
It is our
privilege to share in his glory, his triumph, and his
exaltation; but if we have a part in these, as true
followers we must also follow him in his humiliation.
Are we willing to follow him when the multitude laughs
and mocks at him? When his cause is unpopular? When for
praise we have reproaches? When for smiles we have
sneers? Then comes the test whether we will follow him
all the way.
occasion, after he had preached, the multitude forsook
him and only the Twelve were stedfast. In these days
many are offended at the Word. Are we willing to accept
it all? Are we willing to listen to it all? Are we
willing to obey it all? God wants "whithersoever" men
and women, who will hear the whole Word, believe the
whole Word, and obey the whole Word. If we shrink from
obedience to any part, we lack just that much of being
"whithersoever" disciples. Christ lived a dedicated
life; he was dedicated to his Father's will and
accomplished his work; he gave himself solely to this.
He allowed nothing to come between him and the
fulfillment of God's purpose. With him nothing counted
except that he should finish his work.
There is a
purpose, a moving purpose, in every life. There is one
thing above all other things that is the chief purpose
of our life. In many cases that purpose is to please
self, to follow out a course of our own choosing. The
dominant purpose in the heart of every true follower is
the same as it was in the life of Christ--to do the will
and work of the Father. He who shrinks from either may
hesitate to call himself a true follower.
sacrificed all, even his life. A "whithersoever"
follower has the same spirit of sacrifice; he will not
withhold himself or that which is his. The early church
rejoiced, "that they were counted worth to suffer" for
Christ. Let us today, look into our own hearts and see
if we are animated by the same spirit. That spirit is a
very different spirit from that which is seen in those
who are offended by a word or a look and who are ready
to resent the slightest act that encroaches upon their
rights. How empty the claim of many who profess to be
real followers! They follow where it pleases them, but
as soon as something happens not to their liking, they
are ready to draw back.
not where to lay his head. We have no record that he
ever owned anything save the clothes he wore. A
"whithersoever" follower is not ashamed of the poor; and
if he himself is poor, he is not ashamed of his poverty.
But Christ was not always poor. We read that, "he became
poor." He sacrificed that others might be enriched. The
same spirit of sacrifice will make us willing to
sacrifice what we have for the enrichment of others. If
there were more "whithersoevers" among us, we should not
hear of ministers' being kept out of the work through
lack of support or a lack of funds to carry on the
Lord's work. Think of a stingy "whithersoever!" Can you
imagine such a combination? Yet many professed followers
fail in their duty to give to the cause.
bring the question home to ourselves. Let us examine our
hearts and lives. Are we willing to follow Christ all
the way, even when we are rejected by our friends and
relatives, through sneers and revilings? We might be
willing to walk on the waters with him, but how about
Gethsemane? We may be willing to eat of the loaves and
fishes, but are we willing to go with him to the palace
of the high priest? We might drink of the wine of Cana,
but will we wear the thorns? We would gladly sit with
him on his throne, but will we bear the cross with him
to Calvary? We can easily follow him when the skies grow
dark, when we are troubled, when bitter trials come,
when it takes courage to face what is before us? Let us
decide to be true when the way is strewn with stones or
hedged with thorns, when the clouds hang low as well as
when all is bright and encouraging. Let us cast away all
shrinking, and say from our hearts and by our lives, "I
will follow whithersoever thou goest."