I Will Follow Thee

I Will Follow Thee

Follow Thee is my desire, I will follow Thee,
Thru the cold or thru the fire, I will follow Thee.

 Chorus:
I will follow Thee, dear Lord,
I will follow Thee.
Whither Thou goest, dear Lord, I’ll go,
I will follow Thee
 
Thru the pasture you may lead, I will follow Thee,
In the valley there you be, I will follow Thee.
 
On the mountain near the sky, I will follow Thee,
There I’ll be and near your side, I will follow Thee.
Roosevelt Miller wrote this particular song in the 1950’s and it can be found on page 283 of the “Hymns of the Spirit” hymnal.  Mr. Miller is the former director of the Ladies of Lee University (formerly Lee College in Cleveland, Tennessee).  Mr. Miller wrote both the words and the music to this great hymn of commitment.  My wife Sheri actually was part of a recording of this song back in the late 80’s while she attended Lee and sang with the Ladies of Lee.
The song is essentially a verbalization of what the disciples did when confronted with the call of Jesus.  In Matthew 4:19, Jesus is speaking to Simon Peter and Andrew and says “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him.”  He asked them to follow and their response was essentially “I will follow Thee.”  In Matthew 9:9, Jesus meets Matthew the tax collector and says ““Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.”  Matthew’s response was essentially “I will follow Thee.”  But the command to follow was not always heeded.  In Matthew 8, Jesus explains the cost of discipleship.  Verse 19-22 says “Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”  And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”  Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”  But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”  But this passage does not tell us that these men followed.  The implication is that they didn’t.  The rich young ruler in Mark 10 went away sorrowful when Jesus told him what he had to do to inherit eternal life.  Take up your cross and follow me.  The rich young ruler had a choice, but he choose poorly.  He did not make the commitment to follow Him.
 
When the disciples chose to follow the Lord, they had no idea where it would take them.  Would they get to share in the “mountaintop” experiences with the Lord?  Yes.  They would be eyewitnesses of great miracles – raising of the dead, healings, feeding of five thousands, and turning water into wine.  Would they go with Him through the storms and fires as well?  Yes, they were with Him in the midst of a great storm when He walked on water, and most, if not all, disciples were martyred for their faith in Christ.  Their commitment to go “whither Thou goest” was a commitment that would cost many of them their lives.  Yet, they followed Him merrily, with joy and thanksgiving in their heart.
 
This past week while listening to our Pastor preach on the Resurrection story found in Luke, I began to think about the commitment of the “Mary’s” during all parts of Jesus’ life.  Obviously, Mary was present at Jesus’ birth.  Mary was there at the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry where He turned water into wine.  Another Mary was a beneficiary of Jesus’ healing ministry, Mary Magdalene.  Mary was there when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.  “Mary’s” participated in the “mountain top” ministry events of Jesus’ ministry.  But “Mary’s” were also there for the days of “fire” and tribulation.  “Mary’s” were at the crucifixion.  John 19:25 says “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.”  “Mary’s” were at the burial.  Matthew 27:60-61 says “…and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.”  “Mary’s” were there at the tomb Sunday morning, and “Mary’s” were there in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost.  
 
So let me ask you a couple of similar questions today?  Will you follow Jesus merrily?  And will you follow Jesus “Mary-ly? – like the Mary’s”  “Merrily” in the since that you will follow Him with joy and gladness of heart.  With an understanding that each day is a day that the Lord has made and that we can rejoice and be glad in it.  And will you follow Him “Mary-ly” as well?  Like the Mary’s of the Bible, following Him through the good times and the bad.  On the mountain tops and in the valleys.  In the green pastures and in the valley of the shadow of death.  Jesus is looking for followers to follow Him merrily and “Mary-ly.”  I pray that your response to His call to follow is “I will follow Thee.”

 

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