Since coming back from our mission work in Mexico I’ve been thinking a lot about just how much my life is making a difference. Am I making a difference for the kingdom of Christ? As I’ve thought about it, I’ve been working through “discipleship” with the men’s group…Iron Men. As I’ve been thinking and studying, I’ve become convinced that what we do for people is all that really matters in this life. Jesus cared about people. He came to seek and save that which is lost. He discipled people. He poured His life into 12 men and even narrowed it down on specific occasions to three (Peter, James and John).
I’ve been asking myself, “Who am I really discipling?” I know I preach to 380 people each week, but am I discipling them. The answer is: NO. To disciple someone means to pour your life into them. You don’t just teach them, you live out your life before them. Discipleship embodies a desire to give our lives to the things that last forever: people. After all, after the will is read, the assets are claimed and the money is distributed, the lives of most men and women will be forgotten. For all their success and all their striving, their achievements will turn out to be temporary (temporal). But the person who decides to invest in the lives of others will make an eternal impact.
I’m to begin this process of discipleship in my home with my children. In fact, if I can’t do so in my home, then I’m unfit to do so in the church.
1 Timothy 3:4-5: 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?
A friend of mine confessed he was more successful at answering questions at work and solving problems at work than he was talking to and helping to solve his wife and children’s problems. His success at work has allowed him to hide out in his career and not face the fact that he doesn’t know what to do spiritually to shepherd his family. He loves the Lord and talks openly with clients about his faith but has never discipled his own children. Most of us are too busy doing everything else to even have a family life. God help us to make sure our priorities are straight.
However I know people who go the other way and invest nothing into the lives of others outside their own family. I like the words of the song, “My Own Little World” by Matthew West. Take a look:
In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I’ve never gone hungry, always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket, shoes on my feet
In my own little world
I try to stay awake during Sunday morning church
I throw a twenty in the plate, but I never give ’til it hurts
I turn off the news when I don’t like what I see
Yeah, it’s easy to do when it’s
What if there’s a bigger picture?
What if I’m missing out?
What if there’s a greater purpose
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world…
Father break my heart for what breaks Yours
Give me open hands and open doors
Put Your Light in my eyes and let me see
That my own little world is not about me
Sobering words for me, indeed. In Mexico I met and had the chance to lead to the Lord a man named Adrian.
I mentioned him in a post last week. Well, he has no computer and no cell phone. So, the only way to communicate with him is “snail mail.” So, I wrote him a letter and yesterday I received his reply back. Here’s an excerpt:
“I’ve been reading some Scriptures of the Bible with the family. The kids like the time we spend together and learning about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I was very close to losing my faith until you came along. I will never forget you and everyone that came with you. I’m blessed for having you coming into my life and restoring my faith. I love you.”
I’ve teared-up just reading that again.
Also enclosed was a letter from his wife, Kat. Here’s an excerpt…
“You helped save my husband, and brought God into his heart and life! This in turn, I think really saved our relationship. He is truly a different person! Our life has truly changed for the better. Even though our problems aren’t over, I have faith everything will be alright.”
Wow! What a blessing! Now you may be thinking, “Boy, he’s sure bragging on himself here.” Well, that’s honestly not my intent. I’m nothing. I mean that. All my works are as filthy rags. I simply share this with you to show that we can make a difference in someone’s life even through the United States mail system. I will continue to write Adrian and Kat and encourage them, but I’m praying for the Lord to send someone to them that can disciple them. Where they live in Weslaco, Texas there are almost no Bible-teaching churches. There are mostly Catholic churches. Only 4% of the city (76,000 people) attend church according to statistics.
How can we make a difference? We’ve got to see people in the light of eternity. They are either going to heaven or hell. Jesus couldn’t reach everyone. So he preached to the masses and then discipled 12. Who are you discipling? Begin at home and then ask the Lord to show you who is in your circle of influence that needs you.
Think about this:
If you were the only Christian on earth and you spent one year sharing the gospel with one other person and then discipled them to become a committed believer and they in turn, did the same thing. Your ranks would double each year. Within 10 years your group would have grown to 500 trained disciplers. After 20 years there would be more than 500,000. In a little more than 30 years, we could reach the world for Jesus Christ!