November 12, 2021
Everybody Follows Somebody
by A.C. Williams
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16 NLT
Have you ever had to follow someone who didn't know where they were going? It's a headache, right?
I am directionally challenged. I admit it freely. I can’t find my way out of a paper bag, yet people persist in asking me for directions. Yes, I can navigate if I need to, although I usually end up having to turn around a few times. And I do my darnedest not to get frustrated when people riding in my car like to criticize or point out my ineptitude. It's good for my perfectionist heart to learn not to take myself so seriously.
But what if someone is following me? What if I take a wrong turn and get us both lost when I don’t know where I’m going? Making a wrong turn when people are following you can be catastrophic.
We all follow someone. None of us truly have original ideas, you know. It’s all been done before, even that road you’re taking that you think no one has traveled. Someone somewhere has already been there and done that (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
But are you following someone who knows where they’re going? Or are you following someone who has no idea? You need to be sure, because it can be dangerous to follow the lost (Matthew 15:14).
And if you’re the one who people are following, you need to be even more careful. Christian leaders are accountable to God (Hebrews 13:17), yes, but what about those of us who choose to follow?
Is it only up to the leaders to determine a course? If you live in a dictatorship, maybe. But the Body of Christ is a unit, a system, a family. Don't we have the freedom to check each other? Don’t we get a choice in who we follow (Joshua 24:15)?
Of course we do. So choose wisely.
If we just follow the next person we meet on the street, who knows where we'll end up. But if we take the time to get to know people, to understand their hearts and their motivations, then we have a better chance of knowing whether they are following God or trusting their own wisdom or personal experiences.
If you can tell that someone has a bad sense of direction, don't follow them. You don't have to follow anyone you don't believe should lead. This is your choice.
Ruth made a choice (Ruth 1:16-17). I'm not sure if Ruth knew God closely when she made this decision, but she did know Naomi. And she wanted what Naomi had. That reasoning is sound. It worked for her. It will work for you.
Following someone takes trust, and while Jesus is the only one we can trust implicitly, those who are earnestly following Him probably have a better chance of staying on track. And maybe they’ll even be willing to accept correction when they make a wrong turn. I'd hope so, at least.
So if you're a leader, be sure that you have your directions. Leading others is a huge responsibility that is too much for you to handle alone.
And if you are a follower? Don't turn your brain off. Be sure you're following someone who is following God. If not, you'll both end up in a world of hurt.
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: A.C. Williams is a coffee-drinking, sushi-eating, story-telling nerd who loves cats, country living, and all things Japanese. She’d rather be barefoot, and if isn’t, her socks won’t match. She has authored eight novels, two novellas, three devotional books, and more flash fiction than you can shake a stick at. A senior partner at the award-winning Uncommon Universes Press, she is passionate about stories and the authors who write them. Learn more about her book coaching and follow her adventures online at www.amycwilliams.com.
Amy's latest book is Flipping Fates (The Misadventures of Trisha Lee, Book 3). Enjoy a madcap, rock-the-church journey + mystery that pulls no punches (and features a sweet side of romance).
Join the conversation: What do you look for in a leader?