I was driving Cherry to school this morning and saw ^ that ^ on a bumper sticker on the SUV in front of me. I rolled my eyes, and if I would’ve been alone in the car, I would’ve started ranting out loud.
Do I follow Jesus this close? Well, my first thought was yeah, yeah I do. I get right on his bumper so he knows I’m there, so he can feel me breathing down his neck, feel the pressure. And if he doesn’t go fast enough or if he puts on the brakes, I HONK REALLY LOUD and yell, C’MON!!!! JEEEZ!!!! (I think this is a friendly nickname for Jesus.)
And sadly, I’m not being sarcastic. I really do this. “C’MON, Jesus! What are you waiting for? When is this going to be OVER ALREADY!??! I DO NOT LIKE what you’ve got going on with my life right now. This is NOT WORKING FOR ME. Will you pleeeeeeeease HURRY UP?!? I don’t have all day!!!”
And then my thoughts changed course. And I wondered what the driver of the maroon Highlander meant by “following Jesus.” Because here’s the thing. I think we all have different ideas. And I feel like there’s a really good chance that my idea of following Jesus and Ms./Mr. Highlander’s idea might be slightly different (because I would never put that ridiculous bumper sticker on my car, for starters).
What does it mean to follow Jesus? To follow him close? (or closely, if you’re into proper grammar and all that)
Go to church? Wear Christian t-shirts and bumper stickers? Stay away from bad things (and bad people)? Forward all the “Forward This if You Love Jesus” posts on Facebook? Keep your language clean? Protest gay marriage any chance you get?
Is that following Jesus close?
Probably one good way to figure out this follow-Jesus-close thing is to open the Bible and read about Jesus.
His first recorded words were these: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)
I love these verses. They’re my kind of verses. If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you’re not surprised.
And here comes the part of the post where I talk about how to reeeeeally follow Jesus you have to give away all your stuff and take care of the poor and move to Ethiopia or Myanmar.
Except not, because…
My friend, Krysten, and I were talking last night (she drove 45 minutes to my house after teaching 2nd graders all day–and brought pizza!), and we both admitted that we’ve been doing a not-so-hot job of loving the people who follow Jesus differently than we do. With all the loving the poor, fighting human trafficking, and what-have-you that we’ve been doing, we’ve caught ourselves looking down our noses with disdain at the people who “haven’t caught on yet.”
That’s not following Jesus close. It can’t be.
So, I’m going to keep on trying. To follow Jesus like I think he wants me to follow him, to inspire others to do it too, but to never, not ever, get all high-and-mighty about it.
Because that’s more obnoxious than a bumper sticker.
p.s. Anyone have a redonkulous bumper sticker to share?