When I was a kid, we played follow the leader. Have you? We all have leaders we should follow. Playing a game is one thing but following in real life can be challenging. Let’s see if you REALLY follow the leader.
There is one important question on this test: Are you following Jesus? When we learn how to follow Him, we will be better followers of the other leaders in our lives, like parents and teachers. For everyone from bosses and parents to kids, Jesus is the key to following and leading. He had leaders too!
When Jesus was 12, His parents took Him to Jerusalem for Passover. They headed back home without Him but didn’t realize it until they had traveled a full day! Frantic, they returned to Jerusalem, and after three days found Jesus in the Temple. When His mom scolded Him, He said: “‘Why would you need to search for me? Didn’t you know that it was necessary for me to be here in my Father’s house, consumed with him?’… Jesus went back home with them to Nazareth and was obedient to them…. As Jesus grew, so did his wisdom and maturity. The favor of men increased upon his life, for he was greatly loved by God” (Luke 2:49-52, The Passion Translation).
This story tells us a lot about young Jesus. First, He wasn’t being disobedient when He was in the Temple. He wasn’t lost. His parents just didn’t know where He was; Jesus thought they did. He went to see the priests and talk with them, wanting to know more about His Father’s Word so He could do His will (or business!). He was where He was supposed to be AND was fixed on following the Father.
What do you think the priests discussed with Jesus? Maybe the Fifth Commandment and what it means to HONOR. Read the special commandment God gave to kids in Deuteronomy 5:16, New Living Translation: “Honor your father and mother, as the LORD your God commanded you. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
That is a command from God, so we know Jesus kept it. Luke 2:51 says that He went home with His parents and was obedient to them. Jesus grew in wisdom, maturity and favor; and was GREATLY loved by God the Father! He studied, obeyed and honored His Father and it made Him strong. Like sheep follow their shepherd, Jesus followed His Father saying, “Not My will but Your will” or, as in John 5:30, Amplified Bible, Classic Edition, “I am able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord—but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders]. Even as I hear, I judge [I decide as I am bidden to decide. As the voice comes to Me, so I give a decision]…[I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose] but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me.”
Following the Leader causes us all (including adults) to grow in wisdom, maturity, favor and love! Superkid, look up honor, wisdom, maturity and favor in the dictionary. Discuss with your parents how Jesus lived and what it means to you, and to them.
This is the life Jesus wants for us, and He’s here to help! When tempted to disobey, He didn’t. But He doesn’t expect us to be perfect. He wants to correct us when we miss it and get us back on track. We can follow Jesus like sheep follow the shepherd who cares for them. Your parents are your shepherds. You’re under their care and authority. Follow them instead of doing your own thing. I know that can be difficult, but it’s not as hard if you honor them like you honor Jesus.
Parents who follow Jesus’ example don’t expect you to be perfect. Honor them by obeying their instructions and receiving their correction when you miss it. As you become a listener (like Jesus was), following with honor and obedience is easier. Parents aren’t perfect but they, too, are learning to follow Jesus. The benefit of being sheep-ish is that the more you follow Jesus, the easier it is to follow your parents. And every time you follow your parents, you are practicing and learning to follow Jesus! It’s a win-win!
Here is a follow test to give yourself or to take as a family. Set a timer to go off every 15 to 30 minutes—all day or for a few hours. Every time it goes off, ask yourself, Am I doing what Jesus and my parents want? He will help you! If you aren’t sure what you’re supposed to be doing, go ask a parent! Give yourself a high-five at the end of the test, even if you messed up all day. The test isn’t about being perfect, but honoring those who shepherd you—Jesus and your leaders.
Now, let’s honor some extra-special shepherds—our moms. We could say many good things about our mothers and we should SAY them! So, I’ll start with my mom, Gloria Copeland. She is smart, kind, a hard worker and takes care of everyone around her. What I love most is that my mom is full of Jesus. She talks like, acts like and loves like Jesus. My mom LEADS like Jesus!
SAY how you feel about YOUR mom today. Encourage her. No mom is perfect, but as she follows Jesus, she can love and lead like Him—especially if YOU act like a sheep!