When I was Young

January 30, 2020 | Darrell Hutto

When I was very young, I heard Jesus speak to my heart “Follow Me!”  Even though I did not have a complete understanding of what that meant, I remember saying to Him, “Yes, I will!”  As best I knew how, I submitted and surrendered my life and actions to honor the Lord.  He always brought people into my life to encourage me.  He always led me to help the hurting and needy.  (That also included stray cats and dogs!). I remember giving away my shoes and especially coats and jackets on a number of occasions to the homeless.  My parents were so gracious and understanding.  I also remember in high school bringing the homeless and alcoholics to our home and asking mother to cook them a hot meal.  Mother never complained.  We would play Christian music that spoke of God's love for hurting mankind and we would pray with them.  Lives were changed by the presence of Jesus.  
  Being a follower of Jesus was real to me, just as it is now.  I’ll never forget the day when the Holy Spirit spoke to me and told me He was not looking for great leadership or skills but simply a surrendered heart, one who was willing to follow not lead.  I was concerned that I did not have what Jesus needed to be used by Him.  All I had to offer Him was a life surrendered to Him.  I remember emphatically saying to Jesus “I can follow You.  I can do that!”
As I grew in knowing the Lord, my life had more meaning.  I learned life was not about serving me but about honoring Him.  I learned about what pleases Him and what grieves Him.  Day by day, He led me to people who needed Him.  I saw Jesus in the Gospels touching the lives of the hurting and warning others not to be self centered.  This spoke volumes to me.   I knew if I helped others see their value to God by demonstrating Gods love, their lives would be changed forever.  It all started by giving what I had: my life, a pair of shoes, my jacket, a hot meal...  He showed me that it all belongs to Him and that I must be free in sharing it.  I was not concerned with my own needs.  I saw possessions as a tool to help people experience the love, mercy and compassion of God our Father.  It became easy to give and share because it all belonged to Him.  As Denise and I followed Him, He would lead us in what to give.  He led us to build, to establish and equip.  We simply followed His leading without questioning.  It took time but we learned and saw His faithfulness and knew He was trustworthy.  We knew we could step out on a limb, to speak, and do whatever it was He was asking us to do.
    The words of Jesus, “Follow Me”, are still speaking to our hearts, compelling us to lay down ambition, avoid worldly distractions and pursue helping people see their place in the Kingdom of God.
 Our Heavenly Father hears the cry of mankind and will always respond to those who call upon Him.  This is why the Lord sent Denise and I overseas, to deliver God’s message, to provide a meal, to pray a prayer of faith, to encourage, to be an answer to someone’s prayer.  As followers of Christ, our mission purpose has not changed but our area of influence has.  Our goal is simply to follow Him and to do what he tells us to do without questioning.  This has been and still is a journey of faith.  No amount of money or position can compare in seeing people respond to the love of God and be transformed into New Creations in Christ!  Nothing in this world is so beautiful and fulfilling!!
Every day is a new day to follow Him.  His invitation is fresh each day!  He will take you where you have never been and enable you to do what you have never done before!  We have experienced this a thousand times.  The joy and peace of following Him cannot be put in words, but we all can experience it and taste the Goodness of our Lord.