Two words seem to permeate our world like never before: FOLLOWERS and FRIENDS. These words are proclaimed with little thought to their true meanings and intent. Like a card-shark’s nearly invisible movement of hand, we deal these words off the top of our deck and stack them neatly with others like tribe, fans, following, platform, and audience (just to name a few).
How did we get HERE, in this place of focusing so intently on our following and lose the focus on whom we are following and make it all about us? We gather our virtual FOLLOWERS and FRIENDS, like my boys used to hoard Hot Wheels cars or G. I. Joes, and somehow we never have enough.
Silly as it sounds, I woke up this morning and my Instagram said I had several new followers, one in particular that made my heart leap when I saw the name. “__________ started following you.” That’s what it said, and those few words made me so very happy. I know; I’m shallow. But don’t deny it. If you use social media, you too know the thrill of certain people following you or sending you a friend request. I remember and long for the simpler days of “social media” at its best….
You would get slipped the little note scribbled on blue-lined paper that said, “Do you like me? Yes or No? Check the box.” Talk about thrilling!! It thrills us immensely, or as my Alabama-verbiage-that-often-slips-out-at-inappropriate-moments would say, “That just blew my skirt up!”
Before I make anyone angry, let me say this: I have followers and friends, and honestly I want more if I am going to gain an audience for what I spend hours in my week doing. I write blogs and books. I’m an author. Reality states that if I don’t have an audience, I don’t have readers, and if I don’t have readers, well, then what’s the point?
Here’s my point: It’s all about the heart. I can pour my heart and soul into creating my following or I can pour my heart and soul into creating posts and books that hopefully will reach and change and move a handful of people. I was reading an article about this very topic and within its paragraphs nestled a very telling question. “What if only one person reads your book or your blog post? Would you consider your writing a success?”
Hmmmm……after a while, I knew the answer to that question. My desire is for millions to read my words, but if one person reads and their life is touched for the good, hope is renewed, love is restored, then IT WAS WORTH EVERY SECOND OF IT! That’s the point. To reach the one needing it. Even if the “ONES” only consist of “ONE.”
Let me turn the question into our day-to-day life. “What if you have one good friend and never gain a following? Will your life be a success?”
What did Jesus say in Matthew 18 and Luke 15 about the 99 sheep and the one lost lamb? He goes after the ONE! He focuses on the one! It’s all about that one in that moment needing that word.
How can we bring this down to size and apply it to life? I’m not saying having a following and friends is wrong. I would be shooting myself in the foot if I did. I am saying that focusing so intently on the masses, the audience and forgetting the one true follower/friend you do have is dangerous at best. We lose sight of reality and what’s important. It’s so much more worthwhile and rewarding for you and them if you focus on the one. Bring that wide angle shot down to a close-up and THEN look through the lens. What do you see? THE ONE.
Jesus wants the whole world, the whole audience, the whole mass of people to follow Him for their benefit and good. He wants an audience and group of followers that even the wildest dreamers wouldn’t dare to dream about. But at the same time, most importantly, HE WANTS THE ONE.
I’M IT…the object of His focus. His follower. His friend.
(And so are you.)
Now here’s the most important part of this line of thought I woke up to this morning. Jesus issued an invitation to men and women during His walk on this planet, all the way through the years up until today, all the way until His return. Two simple words. Words that when responded to must make His heart thrill like none other.
Such a simple invitation, but full of life-changing results if the hearer says “yes.”
Even before my first cup of coffee, I saw those words on my phone’s screen. “_____ started following you.” Was my thrill shallow? Maybe. But it got me to thinking this….How does Jesus feel when He can say “_____ started following Me?”
Imagine it with me..…Jesus’ heart starts pounding heavily with a sense of excitement. Something miraculous just happened and He knows it. His heart thrills to the realization that a choice had been made, a life-decision just escaped the lips of a soul that He has longed for. A smile slowly spreads across Jesus’ face. He elbows His Father. “Did you hear that? _____ started following Me.” And the Father’s smile matches the Son’s.
He is thrilled!
The one Jesus has longed for has started following Him! And Heaven rejoices!
May we pay close attention to whom we are following and to whom is following us. May we narrow the lens and focus on the one in front of us in the moment. May we look up before we do anything else and accept the daily invitation to follow the One whose focus is on us, the one, HIS ONE.
As always, I appreciate my readers. Would you leave a comment below on your thoughts about FOLLOWERS AND FRIENDS?
In Christ Alone,
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