If I did musical intros to my blog posts, the one for this post would be Bob Dylan’s, Gotta Serve Somebody. I’m not quite sure when I chose this title for my blog or mantra for my life, but as time goes on I find myself more and more comfortable with it. I think the question that it immediately evokes is: who? Who am I trying to follow?
Several years ago, that answer would have been staunchly black and white. I am following Jesus, the God of the Bible and no one and nothing else. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…and run with perseverance…” Back then though, I probably wouldn’t have used the word “trying”, it’s too wishy-washy, too uncommitted. The songs sung in church never have the ambiguity of “trying” they are steadfast commitments, battle cries and no compromise allegiances. Most of that’s not bad, positive self-talk certainly has it’s place, but somewhere along the way I found it fairly disingenuous to be singing those types of words. I wasn’t really following Jesus, not most of the time anyways.
Nowadays, I’m quite happy with just trying to follow. I don’t have aspirations to be a leader, I’m going to just stick with doing my best at following. And, I’m going to be honest about my lack of resolve and commitment, I’m gonna “try” that’s the most I can offer and I’m okay with that.
As to the who, I still use this line sometimes: “I once read the words of a man who said, “Follow me,” and I’ve been on that journey ever since.” That is definitely a reference to Jesus and his teachings, which I’d still consider the primary path I’m trying to follow. I’ve found nothing more fascinating and life-changingly radical then the philosophies and teachings I’ve seen in Jesus’ words, that’s just the honest truth. At the same time, along my journey there have been other mentors whose wisdom and lives I’ve found inspiring, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, MLK, Dorothy Day. I’ve also found I don’t need to completely agree with someone to find wisdom and encouragement in their teachings. Greg Boyd and John Piper have both been largely influential in my theology and yet they appear to be each others archnemesis.
Trying to follow means taking this humble journey one step at a time. Being okay with making mistakes, being wrong, needing to turn around, or seeking further wisdom on the path. It means no one person might have all the answers, that maybe there is kernels of truth lying in many. And it means not being too stubborn to think your going to lead the way on your own. We all know, you’ve gotta serve somebody.