Discipleship and Purpose

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;

                                                            Matthew 28:18-20a

 

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”

                                                            Luke 9:23

 

The concept of discipleship has been on my heart lately, and I’ve been chewing on the idea of how to start it for a while, but have come up dry with how to start out a devotional on it (that’s part of the reason there was no devotional last week). I’d shared this struggle with the Thursday night prayer group, and Dell read me a letter that he’s had in his Bible for a long time. We all agreed that it was a perfect way to begin this devotional. So with many thanks to Dell, and more to the Holy Spirit, I’d like to share this with you. It was attributed to a young African pastor in Zimbabwe, and was found among his papers after he was martyred.

 

“I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His and I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I’m done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised, or rewarded. I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by Holy Spirit power.

My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road may be narrow, my way rough, my companions few, but my guide is reliable and my mission is clear.

I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence of the adversary. I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He comes for His own, He’ll have no problems recognizing me. My colors will be clear!”

 

Wow, right?! The author of this bold and declarative statement understood what discipleship meant. The very definition of discipleship can be summed up into one sentence near the end of his missive: “I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes.” Our purpose, as individuals as well as being in the body of Christ, is to be disciples, and share the gospel with all who need to hear it, thereby enabling others to become disciples.

 

“But, Laura,” you muse, “I am not a pastor. I don’t preach. Those words were specific to that man as a pastor. How can they apply to me?” Oh, but they do. We need to actively put away the concept that preaching and making disciples are things that only clergy can do. That is wrong, unbiblical, and frankly, if I may be so bold, a cop-out. We all preach; we just do it in different ways. As St. Francis of Assisi is quoted as saying, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.”

 

It is what we are called to do. It’s not without its cost, but how could we not give all that we are to Him? Lest anyone ask—no, this is not taking on a works mentality. This is simply sharing with the world the good news of salvation, hope, and an eternity-long relationship with our Creator.

 

Prayer Requests

  • For everyone in need or in pain—that they might find His peace
  • For our Vision Team to have discernment, understanding, and wisdom
  • For Pastor Kevin and a return to health, as well as for Robin as his caretaker
  • For those finding themselves in harm’s way defending those who cannot defend themselves
  • For us to be on the path He would have us on
  • For revival in His church

 

Friends, I invite you to reread the martyred pastor’s words, and then read them again. Do they call to mind anyone you’ve met? Could they be your words? Shouldn’t they be our words?

 

Quotes

 

“God is not looking for people to work for Him but for people who let Him work mightily in and through them!”

“You have been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved.”