This past week on my way to work I was treated with a somewhat rare sight in our neck of the woods - a mother fox and two little ones. I guess, "officially", they are called kits. I saw momma fox first as she slowly trotted across the highway in front of my car. As I slowed to watch her cross, two teensie little ones hoped out of the grass in hot pursuit of their mother. SO cute!!
They had no idea that a car was heading towards them at 55 miles per hour. They were not aware of any impending danger at all. Their attention was focused elsewhere, on their mother, and where SHE was going.
Their focus on their mother saved their lives in a way. Because they were so intent on following, they paid no attention to what was going on around them. They could have easily been killed if they had stopped in the middle of the road and looked at my car in disbelief. They could have easily been run over.
Have you ever seen a squirrel crossing the road? They start out doing good. They know they want to cross the road so they begin to do that. But then they start thinking, "Gee, I'm kind of out in the open here. What if a hawk or an owl swoops down and carries me off as their dinner?" Then the squirrel gets nervous and worried. That's also when things begin to go bad.
Have you ever been driving down the road and had a squirrel run out in front of your car? It usually ends badly for the squirrel. Why? Because indecision and doubt are a part of who most squirrels are. I seriously believe that ALL squirrels are born with Attention Deficit Disorder.
"Should I go? Yes!! No, wait! There's a car. Oh, well. I'll try it anyway. Oooo. On second thought I'd better go back. It was safe in that ditch. Who knows what danger awaits in the ditch in front of me. Wait! I wanted to go that way for a reason. What was it? Hey, what's that noise? It sounds like a car. Maybe I should . . . SPLAT!
Not to decide . . . is to decide.
When Jesus walked on the water HE sure didn't have much trouble. Of course, he was God. That probably had something to do with his success. But Peter, Mr. Squirrel in the "Jesus Walks on Water" story, sank like a rock . . . which is what the name Peter actually means. Anyone else, find that ironic? Perhaps "Peter" should mean "The Squirrel" instead of The Rock.
Peter actually started off well. He was following his masters voice. But when Peter got distracted, when Peter took his eyes off God, and brgsn looking and the wind and the waves, things began to go badly for him.
"25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” - Matthew 14:25-31
This world in which we live . . . it is filled with MILLIONS of doubters. It is filled with millions of Peters who WANT to follow Jesus, who NEED to follow Jesus, who were CREATED to follow Jesus, but they get easily distracted along the way. And that "road" leads to death.
"There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death." - Proverbs 14:12 (ESV)
Think about the mother fox I mentioned earlier. What do you suppose would have happened to her offspring if she had doubt and indecision when she crossed the road instead of the determination I saw that morning? There probably would be three dead foxes on the road instead of none.
My friends, we need to FOLLOW Jesus. There should be no looking to the left or to the right. We must follow Him wherever He goes. Otherwise we will be nothing but stains on the highway of life. We will sink just like Peter did.
We must also train our children to FOLLOW. It is a dangerous world our there. The only way to survive it . . . the only way to get to heaven when this life is over . . . is to follow Jesus.
It doesn't matter what anyone else tells you. It doesn't matter what you hear on the television. It doesn't even matter what you hear from the pulpit on Sunday morning. What matters is what we hear from Jesus. If what your friends or your co-workers or even your pastor tells you, if it doesn't match what is written in the Bible, if it doesn't match what Jesus tells us in His written word, it is NOT TRUE. It is a distraction.
We have to quit following this world and start following Jesus!
"Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." - Matthew 16:24
Want to read a story about a person who followed someone else? Someone who was totally focused on her mother (in-law)? Read the book of Ruth. We need to have the same devotion to Jesus that Ruth showed for Naomi.
"16 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. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” - Ruth 1:16-17
May we ALWAYS be intently focused on Jesus. He is "the author and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). And may we be thankful this weekend for our mothers who led us "across the road."
I Will Follow by Chris Tomlin