There was a guy who decided that he repaint the inside of his house. One day a friend stopped by to see how he was doing. He was lying on the floor, in a pool of sweat, totally exhausted and wearing two coats.
“Why are you wearing two coats?”, his friend asked. The guy said, “I am just following the directions on the can which says, ‘For best results, put on two coats’”.
I have a confession to make. No, I’m not the guy in the story! Pleaaaaaaase! But it could have been me, I must admit. I have gotten instructions wrong on more than one occasion. I see words that aren’t there and I miss words that are. Did I ever tell you the time when …? Sorry, I’ve changed my mind!
Following instructions can be challenging. Maybe that’s why Jesus kept it very simple for his disciples when he called them. He simply tells them, “Follow Me!” (Matthew 4:19, Mark 1:17, Luke 9:23, John 1:43).
The two-word instruction is not complicated. There are no hidden meanings that require years of study to unearth. It is not something one has to ‘pray about’ before one can fully comprehend what the Lord is saying. It is not a question of comprehension because I am pretty sure even a child understands the instruction. It is however, a question of trusting and obeying Jesus and there’s the rub.
To follow Jesus at his beck and call, ‘entails a risk of faith, and faith must be an act before it is a content of belief. Only as Jesus is followed can he be known’ (James Edwards).
There was a great tightrope walker by the name of Blondin who attempted to walk on a tightrope stretched across the Niagara Falls in 1859. A crowd had gathered to watch him perform this incredibly dangerous feat. The silent tension turned to a thunderous applause as they watched him complete the task.
He did it five more times. He did it without a pole. He even took a chair half-way and sat on it. With every stunt, the crowd got louder. For the last trip, he ratcheted up one more notch. He turned to the crowd and asked, “How many believe that I can walk to the other side and back while pushing a wheelbarrow?” To which they shouted, “We believe, we believe!”
He quieted the crowd and asked, “Who believes I could push a man in this wheelbarrow while walking out and back on the wire?” Again the crowd responded with enthusiastic affirmation. “OK,” he asked, “Who would like to get in?” The crowd fell silent.
When Jesus asks you and I, “Follow Me”, he is not saying, “Believe Me” but rather, “Obey and trust me when I ask you to get into the wheelbarrow every single time, in the small and big things.”
P.S. His manager jumped into the wheelbarrow while other accounts say his mum did.