Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV)
In our Sunday School class, we are studying Nehemiah and his example to us of leadership. Our Sunday School teacher, quoted John Maxwell who said, “If no one is following you, you are not a leader, you are just going for a walk.” It made me think of an experience Trucker and I had recently. I have been working with him to help him develop more confidence. Knowing that his friend, Indy will often be away, I have been putting Trucker into situations where he is alone, not only in his stall, but also when we are riding. Although I do not generally ride alone, as it is safer to be with a trail buddy, when Andrea cannot ride with me on a trail ride, I saddle Trucker up and we ride in the round pen. At first, he refused to even move. He has gotten so used to always having his buddy with him that he did not know what to do. After much urging him on, he took some tentative steps forward. He tried staying in one place for some groundwork exercises that we do, moving only a step or two in one direction. I continued to urge him on and after time, he learned that I actually intended upon riding him both at a walk and at a trot. Through some work, he is getting over his “buddy sour” attitude where he would not take me for a ride unless Indy and Andrea were with us. Gradually, we moved out of the round pen and into the pasture. Then, one day, after a ride with Indy and Andrea, I asked him to go beyond the barn. While they stopped, Trucker and I went out the back gate and for a short distance to my parent’s house next door. We had to go down an overgrown trail under some trees and through another gate. About halfway down the trail, he stopped and looked back just realizing that Indy was no longer with us. The barn was no longer in sight. He had no one to keep him company. I was not sure I could get him to move on, but he did and I was so pleased to see that our work was paying off. He kept on going, leaving the barn and his friend behind for about ten minutes until I turned him back towards home. I was surprised to see Andrea coming down the trail. She had been concerned because we were gone for so long. Sometimes, we must go alone, but we are never alone if we follow Christ. And if we are doing our job and setting an example of Him, others will follow us as well. Don’t be afraid to be a leader, to be different and to step out and be obedient even if no one will go with you. But, don’t be surprised if your courage and boldness don’t attract others who will follow you all the way to your Savior.