If you caught yourself singing the above to the childhood tune of “The Farmer in the Dell” then welcome to my world. The question you may ask is “why?” Well, I began to think about one of Asbury’s indicators of faithful discipleship – the ways we can look at our own lives and ask others to look at what they see in us and examine our level of faithfulness. In a previous post I wrote about another indicator – “pursuing faithful relationships” and today I want to consider another – the work of teaching and discipling others.
The reason this is a measure of our own faithfulness is that it comes from Jesus instruction to his followers as he left them and returned to heaven:
Then Jesus came to them and said,“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…”
(Matthew 28:18-20a TNIV)
One of the greatest commands is also one of the most neglected – discipling others. It’s true for me and I know it’s true for many others. It’s not that we don’t care about discipling others or we don’t think it’s necessary. I believe the greatest reason for our neglect is our own sense of unworthiness or inability to communicate the faith to others.
So often we feel like neophytes and infants in our faith – and we feel like that year after year. So often we know that we don’t live an intentional life of discipleship and so we feel like frauds when we try to walk beside others to help them live such a life.
I get this, and I live it so often. It reminds me of conversations I have had about losing weight and healthy eating. I have had many more of those conversations in recent weeks. I have had more people asking me about how to eat differently and how to get engaged in a regular exercise program. Why is that? Why the increase in questions? Well, I have been losing weight by eating differently and exercising and people see that. The point is not that I am doing something, but that in the doing it is noticed by others. And, in the doing I have something to share with others.
That’s what it takes to teach and disciple others. It doesn’t mean you have all the answers or get it all right. For example, I am only about half way to my weight loss goal so I still have a lot to learn. It simply means that we are intentional about living our faith – in our regular prayer time, our searching of the Scriptures, our reaching out to help the hurting, the lame, the poor, the oppressed. In living out the call of discipleship and living it on a daily basis, not only will we have something to share, but people may even begin to ask us why they see such a change in us.
Maybe the most important part of our own intentional living as a follower of Jesus Christ is our desire to help others find what we have found. The greatest way we can live out our own discipleship is by intentionally teaching and discipling others. I believe that in living such a life others would long to know the life we know – a life of joy and peace in the Holy Spirit.
Imagine the impact that would have in the world at large. It would begin to make the Kingdom of God a greater reality. It would bring the presence of God into the world in a more powerful and prolific way. “Hi ho, the Kingdom-O as discipling we would go.”
Holy high-five to you,