Who’s Following Whom?

Here’s an original story I told at the end of my message yesterday. The message was based on Mark 1:14-20, in which Jesus calls four fishermen to follow him. I would love to hear your response to this story.


Once there was a man who, when he was backing out of his garage at the start of a busy day, saw his neighbor, a carpenter, building something on two sawhorses in his driveway.

The man said to his neighbor, “Come with me and I’ll show you what I’m building.”

So the man’s neighbor set his tools down and got into the man’s car.

Their first stop was a sales meeting over breakfast. The man did all the talking and his neighbor sat their quietly, nodding and smiling in agreement. From there they went to man’s office. His neighbor sat in a chair in the corner, only speaking when spoken to.

After a conference call, the man asked his neighbor, “How did I do?”

“Great,” his neighbor said.

After writing an email addressing a delicate matter, the man asked his neighbor to read it. “What do you think?” he asked.

“I like it,” said the neighbor. “You’re really good.”

The whole day went like that. The man did his work and his neighbor watched and listened. He never intruded. He ever interrupted. The man would occasionally look over at him and his neighbor would give him an encouraging thumbs up.

After work, the man asked his neighbor to go with him to his daughter’s basketball game. She didn’t play much and the man spent most of the game complaining about how the coach wasn’t doing a very good job with the team.

On the way home, after the game, the man asked his neighbor for his opinion. His neighbor said, “You’re right. Your daughter is the best player on the team. The coach should be playing her more.”

“I knew it,” sad the man.

When they pulled into the driveway, the man invited his neighbor to come inside and watch TV with him to unwind from their busy day. His neighbor said yes and he came in and spent the rest of the evening on the man’s couch. The man appreciated how his neighbor liked all the same shows and laughed at the same jokes he did. He was, in the man’s eyes, a perfect friend.

He even took the man’s side when he and his wife had a slight disagreement about who was supposed to give their daughter a ride home after the game.

When it was finally time for bed, the man walked his neighbor to the door and thanked him for the day.

As the neighbor walked across his front yard, the man called out to him, “Hey! Do you want to follow me around tomorrow?”

The neighbor hesitated and looked at the unfinished project in his driveway, then said, “Sure, why not. Same time tomorrow morning?”

“Yep,” said the man. “By the way, I’ve been meaning to ask: what are you building?”

“It’s a project I’m working on for my dad. I’m having a hard time finishing it,” said the neighbor.

“What is it?” asked the man.

His neighbor said, “Well, it will eventually be a cross.”

“Oh,” said the man. “See you in the morning.”

“See you in the morning,” said his neighbor.


  1. tristatecoog says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this perspective when I first heard it and now the reminder. When I was unemployed for over a year, I was closer to God than I feel now that I’m employed again. So, neighbor, tell me about this cross you’re building.

So, what are you thinking?