“Where you go, I'll go; Where you stay, I'll stay; When you move, I'll move; I will follow you. Who you love, I'll love; How you serve, I'll serve; If this life I lose, I will follow you.”
This is the essence of what it means to be a disciple. Disciples are students; they follow their teacher and their teacher’s teaching.
In a culture where independence is prized above all else, it’s easy to believe that being a follower is a bad thing. Truthfully? It all depends on who you choose to follow.
The Lord said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so that they may know that I will be with you as I was with Moses. You are the one who shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’”
Joshua was the leader of God’s people, chosen to lead them into the Promised Land after Moses died. Under Moses’ leadership, the Israelites had been freed from slavery in Egypt and traveled in the desert for forty years learning how to truly be God’s people. Of course, Moses didn’t lead on his own; he followed God, who was present with them through it all.
Now it’s Joshua’s turn. The Israelites are on the brink of crossing the river into the fulfillment of God’s promises, and Joshua’s leadership is in the spotlight. At a time when Joshua could have an attitude of, “Thanks for everything, God; I can take it from here,” he is reminded and assured of God’s ongoing presence and is instructed to stand still in the water. God has a plan. Joshua is to lead by following, just as Moses did.
When you are standing on the brink of something huge, take a moment and stand still. Know that God is present with you and orient yourself to listen, to trust, to follow — even if you think you already know where you’re headed.
God, give me faith, courage, and humility, so that I can trust in you and follow you wherever you will lead me. Amen.
An ancient Jewish saying goes like this:
“May you be covered in the dust of your rabbi.”
It was meant as encouragement to be a good disciple: follow your rabbi, your teacher, so closely that you get dusty from the dirt he kicks up as he walks. Follow not only what he teaches but also where he goes and what he does.
May you, today, respond to God’s call to follow.
May you be covered in the dust of the Rabbi.