"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. (Matthew 4:19-20)
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. (Matthew 9:9)
Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Mark 10:21)
The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, "Follow me." (John 1:43)
Even after He left the earth and passed the baton to His followers, the idea of following Jesus was clear. There was momentum in place and miracles were happening to help crowds of people see the validity to the stories they were hearing. The Church approached everything in a way that seemed to initially run against the grain of culture, only soon people saw that it truly did make sense... and thousands came to the Lord in a short amount of time.
And yet... the call is there - "Follow Me."
It must have have been amazing to physically follow Jesus wherever He led... without a doubt, I would love that experience. To watch His eyes wander or to see how He cocks His head just before He says, "Can you pass the bread?" Or for a brief second to hear Christ tell a joke - and to see how long He would wait before delivering a punchline that would make everyone crack up.
But how much more amazing it is that wherever you are there is access to Him in Spirit and in Truth? To see miracles of changed lives and households and careers and education and free time and issues and beliefs and everything else. It's sort of amazing to consider how today it is possible to follow Jesus, and it sort of seems like Jesus follows you, too.
Not because they don't matter, but because there is a way of looking at them that matters more. In fact, many times that I've given up on my dreams God said, "Thanks for following Me! You will be blessed by this choice." and then handed them right back to me. Other times, He just said "Thanks for following Me! You will be blessed by this choice."
I wonder if much of our problem in feeling like we're not connecting with Jesus some days is that we're asking Him to bless our plans. Perhaps we should be asking Him to show us what He has especially blessed for us to take part in. One contributes to the world's hurt and to my misery, and the other heals it.
One involves God following you on your terms, and the other involves you following Jesus, even if it gets confusing some times.
Hang in there, for if you follow Jesus you have a perfect Him to hang on to spiritually, relationally, and missionally ... and His imperfect Church (on its best days) will have its arm around you physically.
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (Mark 8:34)