In the animal kingdom, a lemming is a rodent known for periodic mass migrations that occasionally end in drowning. It has become part of modern day terminology for ‘following the crowd’. An online dictionary’s definition for a lemming is “the act of following the crowd into an investment that will inevitably head for disaster. Why am I talking about lemmings I hear you ask? It’s because I have been one and I believe that it is a big problem in the church today. That’s right, the church, not just the world!
When I first came to know God, I was young and didn’t have any examples to look up to as how to behave or how to be as a child of God. As a 16 yr old, I was still figuring out who I was and this was a whole new ball game. Chains of prayer, purposes, campaigns, testing your faith were a whole new language. Growing up, the only times I went to church were occasional Sunday school, christenings, funerals and weddings. As far as I was concerned it was for old people and taking the mickey out of Pastor Wesley at my grandma’s church, so when I made my own decision it was quite a culture shock.
I found that I started following what others were doing, instead of carving out my own independent faith. That worked for her so lets try it, they were blessed by doing that so it must work for me were thoughts and ideas that passed through my head. The youth group was a big example. I was so excited and caught up in what I was doing that quite often, like a lot of youths, I neglected my house and my wonderful Mum. My Mum didn’t come to church with me and the best example I could have given her when growing up would have been giving more inside my house as well as the good inside the church. Coming home early once in a while on Sundays to have dinner, including her more in my new found faith would have been a more positive thing to do.
I saw it in people around me too. There was one testimony about love life that happened around 8 or 9yrs ago, where the man pursued the woman and eventually God touched her heart (and today they are very happily married with a blessed family) and that became the bandwagon for everyone to jump on, “go ahead in faith, it worked for him, it can work for you”. Instead that person was probably wasting their time on that person when God was saying “its not her, the one I have for you is over here!” These are all characteristics of a lemming. I’m sure that none of them that embark on their mass migration imagines that they will end up drowning. And neither do the Christians that inadvertently embark on this behaviour
If someone is described as a loner, it’s quite a negative thing, it usually means they have no friends, they’re always by themselves. I want to turn that on its head and use it to describe a person in faith. Faith is at its best when it’s independent. You don’t look for confirmation from people; don’t need to be pushed along. You just do what you have to.
Gideon, Esther, Noah, Abraham, Paul, these are people that weren’t afraid to branch out on their own. When God spoke to them it was individual. They didn’t have to wait on anyone to confirm what God spoke to them. They achieved great things and weren’t afraid to be loners, to be ridiculed. They weren’t waiting on inspiration from another man. God spoke. They listened. They acted. They achieved.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that I haven’t learnt from the wonderful men and women of God I have been privileged to be around these past 10 years or that I haven’t been inspired by the amazing testimonies that I have heard, only that thanks to Jesus sacrifice, you and I have access to the Source of Life and Inspiration.
When God calls us, He knows who we are, the differences, the characters, the good and the bad. He wants us to change and grow in His presence but not so that we all become one and the same! Our bodies are made up of various limbs and muscles that are all different pieces working together for our good. That’s exactly the point of the body of Christ, different people working together for a common goal.
It’s so easy to get caught up in what others are doing around you even to the point of taking on accents and behaviours, but that’s not what God wants. He’s waiting for you to take risks with your faith and take on new challenges and He will walk with you through every step.
So be different, be a loner!!!