Saturday, February 07, 2015

Disciple-making is messy

This is a follow-up to my previous blog, Making Disciples.

I feel that I may have painted a little too rosy a picture there. Disciple-making is what we're called to do, and it's definitely an endeavor that God puts His authority behind.

Triple facepalm moment But, sometimes it's not pretty. In fact, it can be downright messy.

Sometimes I read the various stories in the gospels about what Christ's disciples did and said, and I just shake my head. What a bunch of goofballs!

Arguing about "which among them is the greatest." Or about who among them would "sit at Jesus' right hand when He comes into His kingdom."

Asking Jesus to rain down fire and brimstone on a village which repudiates their message? Falling asleep at the most important time possible (when Jesus is in anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane, right before He was arrested)? Or whipping out a sword and cutting off a servant boy's ear ... then denying Christ — three times?

Then there's Judas ... the group treasurer, who was pilfering money out of the moneybag, while criticizing Christ's worshippers for wasting their resources ON HIM ... the God who created the universe!

Much of the disciples' story is a major facepalm moment.

Though, as I am frequently reminded, so is my life! It's pretty hard to point an accusing finger at the 12 disciples. There go I, time and time again.

I think all these facepalm moments are included in the gospels in part to help us understand how messy the process of making disciples really is. My wife and I have experienced this firsthand in our young adults group.

Is it worth it all?

As leaders of a dynamic and growing group of young adults at our church, my wife and I have had more than our share of messy facepalm moments. Often these revolve around romances gone awry, or situations in which communication was poor or incomplete or absent, or gossip, or sin masquerading as something else, or people we care about simply "dropping out." With all this (probably inevitable) pain, is being a disciple-maker really worth it?

I'm sure the answer is "yes," even though it doesn't always feel like it. (Let's put it this way: The answer of faith says "Yes!") To see the reason, I think we need to look at what Scripture says about the blessings that are inherent in being parents. We read in the Psalms: "Children are an heritage from the Lord ... blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." Many times as I've wrestled with the various challenges of being a dad, I've asked God, "In what sense, truly, are children a blessing?"

It always comes back to this: Our Creator God is a dad. ("Abba, Father!") Jesus is a disciple-maker. When we follow His lead, investing our lives in the lives of others, we are ultimately blessed as a result. Even when it's messy, in God's "big picture" it is still worth the risk. You do the best you can, and you leave the results up to Him. As in all things, He gets the glory!

So ... get out there and make some disciples already!

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