I had a conversation with a friend today. As we sat and talked about ministry, discipleship and kingdom building, these four words seemed to resonate well within my soul This is not the first time, however, that I have thought about these words, which is why I felt I should include them in a blog format. Sure, there are more words that are important but I feel like these words must become the fabric of who we are as followers of Christ and be treasured values for life if we aspire to make fully developed disciples as we were commanded by Christ.
The older I get, the more this word seems to present itself to me. I have to make every effort to make every moment count. This means I must choose my words carefully, I must choose my timing as perfectly as possible and I must live purposefully wherever I am at any given moment. Time is slipping rapidly through my hand and as a discipler, it is incumbent upon me to engage, pursue and intentionally seek out people who long for deeper more meaningful relationships with me and with Christ. God allows our paths to cross with people for reasons.
Therefore, I should look at each relationship prayerfully and seek what God wants me to contribute to it. As followers of Christ, we are to build others up and seek to help establish them in the faith. Being intentional with every visit, with every question, with every interaction with people will not only ensure disciples are being made but will add fruit and satisfaction to our lives. It certainly has to mine!
In our busy, chaotic world, this is near impossible. With schedules as they are, we rarely have time for people without an appointment. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing with scheduling people in. But is this the way relationships form and deepen? No!
As followers of Christ is imperative that we make ourselves available to a certain few people that we feel God wants us to disciple and make efforts to share life together with them. Jesus wasn’t available to everyone but for three years He was very accessible and available to His disciples; and especially Peter, James and John.
Being more available to the people in my life is not only going to produce more fruit for the kingdom but it also going to create a greater sense of satisfaction with life as a whole. God intends for us to have meaningful, purposeful relationships. Are you available to the ones around you?
In camping, we tell our leaders to have an attitude of “yes”. This means that for campers, we want to try to say “yes” to as much as we can. We are in a service industry and thus saying “yes” is important to satisfy the client’s needs and desires. Is it any less important in the church?
But it is a little different…
What I have found to be the case is that most people do not have the “yes” mentality. There seems to always be excuses for all the things we have the opportunity to do. We are too busy. We have other obligations. We have other priorities. I must ask: are these things that take precedence over saying “yes” to discipling another as important to God? What is it that you can cut from your busy schedule to be more available and intentional? What is it that you need to say “yes” to in order to fulfill the Great Commission?
If I recall, Christ told us to go and make disciples. This is something we are to say “yes” to. There are people who are hungry, looking for someone to pour into their lives and that could be you, if you’d just say “yes”.
If you are going to “yes” to the best, you have to say “no” to the rest. Sadly, we have many people who are saying “no” to the eternal investments because those take time, usually involve many thankless hours and are not as grandiose as “winning” someone to the Lord. I won’t lie; it’s very exciting to see someone commit their life to Christ! As it should be. But it is imperative that we have people who disciple them and help them become fully mature in their faith. Many Christians simply care more about their 401K than the eternal reward or seeing someone become a fully mature believer. Without people discipling others, our churches and our communities will soon become, if not already, shallow and incapable of bringing transformation to the world. Is it any wonder that teens are leaving churches for good once they leave for college? Could it be because they have no meaningful relationships within the church? We have said “no” to the wrong things!
If we are going to truly make a difference in the Kingdom of God and if we want to have a life that really counts for something greater than ourselves, learning to say “no” is an important discipline that we must master.
What words do you feel are essential to equipping this generation become wholly devoted disciples of Jesus?