Following The Leader?

Following The Leader? October 3, 2021

Do what I say, not what I do.

I’m sad this Sunday morning.

Sitting in a hotel, watching a pastor on TV.

He’s preaching on giving.

The importance of giving even when you don’t have it to give.

Telling people how he used to borrow the money in order to give.

Asking for a $1000.00 seed.

Now, I have no idea who this guy is or what church this is.

It seems big.

Has to be, right?

Television worthy.

The people are standing up and saying “amen”.

He is in a pretty snazzy suit.

Quoting 2 corinthians all over the place.

So many blessings being promised.

Just give way more than you have.

To us.

To this church.

So I can buy another $1000 suit to wear the next time I ask you to give out of your poverty.

This makes my head hurt.

My heart hurt too.

As I think about our past.

We were followers.

The people in the congregation believing what the pastor said.

Listening to him tell us to sell everything and go to the nations.

To serve the homeless.

“You can’t out give God”.

Go out and live for Jesus.

Put all your funds into his kingdom.

Treasures in Heaven.

We sold our house and moved to another city.

A city we honestly couldn’t afford to live in.

We invited the homeless to live with us.

Our lives felt crazy.

I have to admit it was fun.

College kids were watching us.

In our small group.

Sold out for Jesus.

Again, I wouldn’t trade those memories.

I’m so glad we had those experiences.

And I really do think we were honoring God in those days.

But, here’s the deal.

A few years into it?

We were considering a move to where our mentors actually lived.

To be a part of this big church.

The place where we had learned how to do all of this stuff.

I should say… learned from afar.

One of our good friends moved down there first.

She was single and it was a much easier for her.

The rest of our group would have to find jobs and housing.

We were jealous of her.

Getting to go be a real part of this place before us.

That is, until we weren’t.

She would call us crying.

The “in group” of this church had taken her in.

She had a front row seat to the inner workings.

Here is what she said to us:

“It’s not what I thought it would be. I thought they would be like you guys, selling their stuff, serving the poor, and all the crazy things they taught you guys to do.”

Turns out, she was plunged into a group of young adults who were trying to climb the popularity ladder within this church body.

It mattered what she wore.

What name brands were bought.

How she did her hair.

Nothing was as it had seemed. 

I mean, I knew I would always take care to pick out a cool outfit when we were there.

I mean, they were cool people.

But, somehow I thought it was only a very small piece of it.

Turns out?

It was the culture.

And had we moved there?

We wouldn’t have made it.

I’m so glad our sweet friend went in before us.

She reported back regularly.

And moved back real fast.

We are forever grateful.

Our lives are different now.

We don’t follow so much anymore.

Nor do we believe everything we hear.

Or do everything we are told to do.

God has made a way for us.

A more beautiful way.

More truthfilled.

And more realistic.

We are moving in the way of love.

No longer seeking to die for our faith.

No more trying to be famous for our good deeds.

And no more blindly believing and following the famous leaders.

I can be myself.

Lean into what Jesus says about my life.

A more simple faith.

The way of love is never trying to get to the top.

Never trying to work our way into the Kingdom.

It’s resting in who Jesus is.

And remembering who we are in this moment.

Learning to love like he loves.

Seeing others.

And trusting in the one who made us.

The burdens put on us by leaders in the church have been heavy.

And unfair.

It’s time to walk a different path.

I’m aware it might be lonely.

Not near as glamorous.

And far from popular.

Walking in the light.

Being a light to others.

Less telling.

More showing.

Less talking.

More walking.

Less judging.

More loving.


More loving.


Karen R Shock resides in Fort Wayne, IN with her husband and their youngest son. She had three more children who are married and four beautiful grandchildren. Oh, and a dog name JT Barrett (Go Bucks). She is a retired homeschool mom and is now a high school teacher and cheer coach. Life is hard, but fun.

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