Matthew 4:19 " And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
If you are ever in Switzerland or Austria you may hear cow bells. One very important point any European farmer will make is that he doesn't select the belled cow, the herd does. The farmer simply places the bell on the cow selected by the herd.
When I was a young boy growing up in a small town, one of my favorite past times was hunting. Since I was too young to legally drive, I walked a lot.
Many of the fields I passed through were homes to the local farmer's cattle. When I was that age, 10 to 12 years old, and going out with my single shot .22 rifle, my dad taught me the importance of hunting safety.
Dad also taught me to respect the farmer's property, especially the fences, gates and livestock. I also steered clear of the bulls that had a reputation.
I have many memories of those days 60 years ago. Wildlife seems to be much more plentiful now than then. Many of those trips I came home empty handed and without even firing one shot. To see a deer back then was very unlikely. The meat hunters kept the rabbit and squirrel population to near extinction levels. That was also a time before coyotes had found their way across the Mississippi River into western Kentucky.
I was an explorer. There were numerous sink-holes in the limestone ground. Often caves opened up in the bottoms of those holes. During those expeditions, I found numerous sea fossils, indicating that area was once under water. I thought at times, maybe Noah had sailed over right where I was standing. My imagination ran wild.
The cattle paths were the one thing I remember very distinctly and have a vision of in those fields. Those paths were always crooked, about one foot wide, bare of grass and led to a shade tree. The cattle were creatures of habit and always walked the same trail to get from point A to point B (the shade tree).
At times I saw the line of cattle. I wondered how they selected the lead cow but never came up with a satisfactory answer. I supposed it was the one that was the most popular in the herd or bellowed the loudest. I also wondered with all those acres of field, why they all thought they always had to walk down that same path.
Nature is a strange thing. Some animals tend to herd like the wildebeest in Africa or elk in America. Others such as big cats or bears seem to prefer to exist in solitude. It appears animals and humans have a few common characteristics.
In one way, the cattle are very much like humans. We also tend to follow that dominant individual. We follow religious leaders, politicians and some are even influenced by celebrities. This leadership concept may be akin to the old saying, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease."
I've been told by kindergarten teachers, when one child gets hungry, they all do. When one needs to go to the washroom, they all do. We humans have this propensity to follow a leader almost from birth.
There are two kinds of people, followers and leaders. The followers would never dare tell the leader, in most cases, they are headed down the wrong path. That second cow would not dare run ahead of the lead cow to take command of the herd. I've always believed one has to be a follower before he can be a leader. None have enlisted in the military and went in as a general.
Leadership in a church is at times assumed by a person or a few that do not follow the scriptures in determining policy. They may have leadership abilities but are misguided or misinformed concerning spiritual matters. They do not follow the Bible because they do not know the Bible. For a church to use the word "Church" in its name may be inappropriate in many cases. This is verified by the fact many have lost sight of the purposes of the church and have determined in their wisdom, such things as potlucks, ball games and other social aspects are the true purpose of a church. They have taken the wrong path!
The leaders and followers must never forget whose the church really is. Colossians 1:16 "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him"
"By Him and for Him" includes the church. It is, therefore, imperative we follow His instructions. There are many purposes of the church, but at the top of the list is Matthew 28: 19 "Preach this gospel." Those were Jesus's last words to His disciples before ascending.
When asked what was the first and greatest commandment, Matthew 22: 37 "Jesus replied, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment." If we love the Lord thy God, we will follow Him and be obedient to His commands.
To follow Him is to be obedient to Him. I had a missionary acquaintance that used the term "believer-follower." That wording really attached itself to me because if we are believers, we by default must be followers.
We all follow a path in life. Like the cow path it may be crooked, well-worn and always seemingly, ending up in the same place. Our path may be the path of least resistance, or a path of a challenge, or perhaps even a path of surviving life.
The cows followed that same path every day. That lead cow was in control of the herd and did not even realize what she was doing. Never forget what the church and we as Christians are really about. Never lose sight of the leader, Christ Jesus.