Lately it seems that many different people and ministries are touting themselves as the definition of discipleship – or missions – or evangelism – or whatever. Some of what is out there is very interesting and even very helpful. But much of it comes from a closed view of what the world is and who God is.
But I know a man who earned a college degree and had a promising career – but saw a place in God’s kingdom for his gifts and answered the call of his Lord to put personal desires on hold to introduce people to the abundant life in Christ. This fellow went on to earn a masters degree at a prestigious institution, which earned him the credentials to ask for the job of his choice in the gospel ministry – again he put his personal aspirations on the back burner and moved, with his family, to a remote place where they can only depend upon God and one another. Each quarter this man invites leaders that he hardly knows to come and live with his family and ‘do life’ with them – while he also takes his 4 years of seminary and condenses it for these leaders so that they will leave him, after two years of quarterly visits, with a seminary education – minus the expense.
All the while – his wife and his sons get to watch him live and lead – and they too are moved to live lives of sacrifice not for personal satisfaction, but so that people whose lives that they touch will be forever changed by the power of the gospel that not only brings salvation – but true life – abundant life – real life. His wife and sons look at his life and say This Is Discipleship!
What is Discipleship, you may ask?? As they have seen it in his life; it is living in community with those whom you are called to disciple wherever you are in the world and no matter the cost – for the cost of discipleship is STEEP! Discipleship is getting into people’s lives (and allowing them to get into yours) and doing life with them so that they can see it, touch it, feel it, hear it and become all that God intended them to be – and so that you too come away from the experience changed, renewed, strengthened and empowered for godly living. Discipleship is sacrificing YOU for the other guy in order that we all may reach maturity in Christ. Discipleship is living the same way behind closed doors that you do when the door is wide open so that others may come to know the living Lord as their King and Savior – this is discipleship – the way Jesus did it with the twelve – life on life.
I won’t mention this man’s name – there is no need. But when I look at his life, I see Christ – I see a disciple maker – I see a bond servant of Christ who has come to love the world so much that he not only gives them the gospel, but he gives the world his very life! If he ever reads this, I pray that he’ll know of whom I speak – and he’ll know that at least one person in the world looks at his life and says – This Is Discipleship!