“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him” (Revelations 19:11-14).
I will never forget it. It was New Year’s Day of 2014. I had traveled to the cities to visit friends and then spent the night in a hotel. I spent the next morning sipping on hotel coffee in my room, praying and journaling a bit before checkout time. It may sound spiritual, but in truth I was mulling over and bemoaning my lot in life and praying for a change. My justification for these feelings was that I wasn’t “doing” much for God. A holy desire, right? That’s when I heard His reply: “I’m not looking for leaders. I’m looking for followers.” There are few times that I’ve heard something so clearly.
I was wanting God to follow my plan instead of me following His, and He knocked me right off my horse. The above passage in Revelations serves to remind me of who the true leader is. God is not looking for leaders, He is looking for followers. Christ leads the battle. Christ wins the battle. It is only by Christ. The same is true in every current struggle we face or goal that we set. If we remain paralyzed by fear or complacency in our lives, we have made ourselves the leader. On the other hand, if our efforts to move forward and further God’s kingdom are not done in the spirit of humility – in surrender to Him – in the end, we have mostly furthered our own kingdom.
Number 9:15-23 is perhaps one of the most repetitive passages in Scripture. If God found it important enough to repeat over and over again, then it is worth our meditation. I dare say that if this was the only Scripture I knew, I would still be well equipped.
“On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s order and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the Lord’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order . . .”
Again, God is not looking for leaders. He is looking for followers. Jesus’ invitation was not simply, “Let’s go together!” though that seems to be the new trend in preaching today. Rather, His call was to “Come, follow Me.” (Matthew 4:19 and Mark 1:17). Even the Apostle Paul was a follower before he was a leader. He emphasized the importance of this in his letter to the Corinthians by this correction: “For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task” (1 Corinthians 3:4-5). Paul’s invitation to “Follow me” was with a condition. His condition was “as I follow Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
So whether the temptation is to charge ahead in life or to remain as is, check to see whether that cloud of God’s Spirit is staying or going. It may not fit our plan. It may not feel comfortable. It may stretch us further than we can imagine stretching. Some of our pride may even get hurt . . . let it! Our victory is only found in the humble obedience of one call: “Follow me.”
Wanted: Followers, Not Leaders written by Lesley Rieland