It’s not unusual to see wildlife during my morning walk, but the beautiful black and cobalt blue butterfly I caught in my peripheral vision this morning seemed intent on following me. Butterflies are a frequent sight on morning walks, but this one stayed with me, following at a safe distance, darting in front of me and then off to the side. Gazing toward other attractions of nature, my focus shifted from her, but a few seconds later she reappeared and followed me the quarter of a mile to my driveway. As if I was the pied piper of butterflies, she stayed with me all the way to my door. Never think where you’re headed only matters to you; once someone starts following you, they may never stop.
I shall call her the Spicebush Swallowtail and a little later when I turned on the garden hose to water the flowers, there she was again. As I admired her beauty perched on the Passion plant by the back door, God seemed to say, ‘she’s watching you. Be careful where you lead her.” Immediately I had to leave the hose, retrieve my Bible and head for the porch for a little porch sitting with God. Just how careful have I been to lead others on this path of life? How many detours have I caused someone to take? Have I led them to safety and security? Or have some stumbled on the path I have chosen?
I suppose children are the most naive when it comes to blindly following people they trust. I remember following my dad to the barn once, so quietly he did not know I followed. He picked up a shovel and swung around nearly striking me (accidently) because I followed so quietly. And more than once a child has followed me home from church (I lived next door) without me being aware of their presence. Where we are headed makes a great deal of difference to those who trust us enough to follow.
Peter seems to be telling me to follow Christ so that those who follow me will be headed in the right direction. “For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an EXAMPLE, so that you should follow in His steps. He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth; when reviled, He did not revile in return; when suffering, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to the ONE who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:21-23)
When someone attacks us or criticizes us, what is our first reaction? To strike back! But it seems Jesus Christ did not submit to that temptation. When He suffered at the hands (or words) of someone else, He did not threaten but trusted His Father to judge accordingly. How hard it is to trust God and not take matters into our own hands! No deceit was found in the mouth or life of Jesus so if we want to lead people in the right direction, our steps, our words, and our actions must follow the example Jesus left for us.
We all played follow the leader as children and found it easy and fun. Well, guess what? We are still playing that game but now in real life. Be careful who you follow and where their path takes you. Be careful the direction you are headed when others are following you on your pathway of life.