As I asserted at the end of yesterday’s post, Paul the Mother, you can learn a lot from a good mother. And it is not only helpful for being a mother or for understanding mothers, it is helpful for understanding the kind of work it takes to nurture, mature, and equip one another in the church. I want to try and show this is more than just a skin deep idea by taking the description of mothers and motherhood I began this series with (here), and exchanging the words “mother” with “Christian” and “motherhood” with “discipleship.” I did make a few other changes too, but for only the sake of clarity.
You can’t come into the kingdom of God without one sharing the Gospel with you. They are necessary. The agents through whom God brings people into the new life of His kingdom.
Christians, whether they know it or not, are incredibly powerful, for the care they give or don’t give sets their spiritual children on a path of understanding what is true, who they are, and what value they have.
Discipleship is not a day job. It is 24/7/365. There are no vacations. It is a fulltime commitment that can make any fulltime job seem trite.
Discipleship is a long job. By that I mean it is not a short term project or commitment. It is not a sprint but a marathon.
Discipleship takes patience…at times incredible unearthly patience because believers are tempted to understand heavenly realities through their present circumstances instead of the other way around, they often live in the “now.”
Discipleship takes one way love. If you have been a discipler for any length of time you know this is true. If you are hoping to be a discipler you need to understand this is true! You need that one way love to endure the yelling, the screaming, the messes, the disrespect, and outright dumb and hateful things that you will hear. “I hate God!” “I wish God would just stop!” “I am so done with God!” Many disciplers have heard things like that. If your love is two-way love—a love that requires respect, friendship, and a quick return on investment in order for it to continue—then discipleship is going to be hard. One way love, grace, is necessary to be a good discipler.
Discipleship requires a lifestyle of giving. Giving time. Making time to give when there is no time. Giving care. Giving love. Giving help. Giving forgiveness. Giving provision and providing not only for spiritual needs, but physical, social, and even mental needs. At times it requires giving in, at other times giving things up, and almost all the time it requires giving out this or that or the other thing. And sometimes it requires giving out when you don’t feel you are being given much back by anybody.
Yet in Christ, through Christ Christians do all this without a second thought. They gladly do it, because they love their spiritual sons and daughters and brothers and sisters. It doesn’t seem to them a burden to be begrudged, but a privilege to be given such responsibility. This isn’t to say that Christians don’t ever feel overwhelmed, or confused, or taken advantage of or get angry or have days when they despair. They do. But the joy of discipleship outweighs the pain. And so they keep discipling.
Do you see what I mean? Now I am not at all saying that this describes all Christians, or even most Christians. I’m not even saying that it describes me! But it should, shouldn’t it?
What if it did? What if we could all say,
In Christ, through Christ I do all this without a second thought. I gladly do it, because I love my spiritual sons and daughters and brothers and sisters. It doesn’t seem to me a burden to be begrudged, but a privilege to be given such responsibility. This isn’t to say that I don’t ever feel overwhelmed, or confused, or taken advantage of or get angry or have days when I despair. I do. But the joy of discipleship outweighs the pain. And so I keep discipling.
What effects would that have?
How would things change?
How would I see things differently? How would I see people differently? How would it effect how I see myself?
Might I see God differently?
What impact would that have on the kingdom of God?
I don’t know about you, but I’d like to find out. What do you say?