April 21, 2008

Just a Story?

I once heard of a man - maybe he was a pastor - who had a difficult time leading his people. Admittedly, some of it was his fault. Being assertive and thrusting his ideas on others just wasn't his way. And when it came to confrontation, that was an even bigger hurdle to jump over. And slowly, over time, many of his people grew tired, weary, and restless...from waiting...waiting for him to lead.

And then one day, alongside others who had captured the quiet vision he had awakened to over time, he came to his people and said, "I'm ready. After months (if not years) of laboring in thought, counsel, and prayer, I feel confident I know where God is leading us and how He desires us to get there." It was almost unbelievable.

Hearing this, many of the people came up with questions, doubts, concerns - how will this effect us? Where do I fit in to all of this? And the man was ready - ready to answer and assure them that not one would be left out, left behind, or forgotten. After initial reservation, the people said, "We'll follow". It was glorious. For awhile.

Something happened. Not long after this, many of the people had forgotten the commitment they had made - they forgot the reasons why the man had said, "We must take this road." Many of them began to remember the way it was, and began to think, "What's in this for me?" And there it was...exposed. The question...the sentiment...the poison that began to kill the people. "What's in this for me?" A dagger that so many of them thought they were thrusting into the heart of the man, but in actuality, they were driving through their own souls - purchasing for themselves a slow death at their own hand. It was almost too painful to watch. Didn't the people want the man to lead? Didn't they spend years of tears and turmoil demanding that he step up to the plate, dig in heart & soul, and lead the people? And then when it finally happens, those demanding a leader...refuse to be led.

Have you heard this story? Have you ever seen anything like this actually play out in real life, wondering all the while how it will end? What will become of the people? Will anyone ever follow the man? Does any of this sound familiar?

I think I heard this story before. Not sure when or where or who told it to me. But I'm glad it's just a story.