I read a devotional this morning that made me think alot about what leading people to Christ means…maybe more specifically what “discipleship” means. Now I know that’s not a word we use a whole lot in our fellowship, and I never really have figured out why, because God asked us to be disciples and make disciples, so it makes sense to me that we ought to be learning and teaching one another how to disciple but hey you know I do have some far out ideas at moments. 🙂
It began my philosophical thoughts for this day…about the idea of doing vs. showing. Of how we lead people to Christ and then help grow them up in Him. Not sure those are exactly the right words, but let me see if I can elaborate.
The devotional made me think about this moment in Honduras when we were building a house. It was towards the end of the day and we were racing to finish and had limited time before the sun went down. I had watched lots of other people on our team and so when it came time to chainsaw off the top posts or the sides, I always grabbed the saw and passed it to one of the guys and let them take care of that business. Well on this particular day, Timateo, this wonderfully kind, gentle, Honduran man who works with TORCH and has a heart from Heaven, looked at me and I handed him the chainsaw and he started it and handed it back to me with a big smile on his face. I thought he mistakenly thought I wanted to cut with the chainsaw and there was this overwhelming desire to use the chainsaw, and there absolutely was no desire. I was perfectly content with him taking care of that part, but I learned something through that. He stood beside me, showed me where I was to stand, and with motions because he speaks Spanish (and well I don’t yet) showed me how I was to cut these boards. Then he allowed me to make the cut. Now what would have taken him 3 minutes took more like 15 or 20 (and did I mention we were in a hurry), and the cuts that he could have made look well crafted, well they didn’t so much. That wasn’t the point. He realized something that I didn’t that day. You give people a gift when you show someone how and allow them to invest themselves in the project.
Ok jump with me now and I will try to make this thought clear. I think the same theory is true with our walk with Christ. I am afraid we sort of do the same thing with Jesus. It’s like we’ve got our house to build…or in this case our soul to save. We’ve got a plan. Just like the house going up, you put up the posts first, and then one wall, another wall, etc. Everyone must do it exactly the same way. So we bring people inside the church door (and pretend as though that’s the only place they may or may not see Jesus), incidentally I’ve learned far more about loving Jesus passionately by watching people outside the church walls than I ever have inside them. We teach them exactly how to think, even on preferential issues, and we make thoughtless carbon copies at moments who run into crisis when they need a faith of their own and don’t have one because they’ve borrowed someone else’s. We’ve “done it for them” so to speak and when they need spiritual maturity to handle difficult times, we’ve done little to nothing to help “show them” the way or help grow them up in Him. I’m not sure but when I’m honest with myself and I think about how I handle these situations, I wonder if it’s not that we’re scared to death to show them how to walk like Jesus because we’re not sure we know ourselves, and are scared to death of what they might see if they watched too closely.
We’re living in a time when that cannot be so. I say this as much to myself as anyone else. I haven’t learned much from people doing things for me. Not much at all. But I can’t tell you the lessons I’ve learned from watching people look like Jesus. See the term “disciple” literally means a follower of Jesus. It means you walk like He walked. You talk like He talked. You study Him, you make yourself resemble Him as much as possible in human flesh. You are covered in his dust because you are following so closely behind Him. Humbling isn’t it. My life ought to be able to show people how you construct a life that is full of integrity, passion, purpose, and most of all intimacy with the One who loves my soul. And so very personally here I hit my knees for the ways I have been so quick to offer the “what to do’s” and not been willing to do what it takes to show them how to live in love with Him.
It’s the difference between holding the tool and showing and allowing someone else to use it for themselves. I learned how to run a chainsaw that day because I put my own hands on the saw. I learn how to love Jesus because I put my own heart on the altar. Not the platitudes, not the opinions of others, not the list…my heart, nothing more, nothing less. You disciple people I’m convinced by leading them to Jesus and to the book that shows us how He chose to live His life. If you want a pattern that’s it. Then you walk beside them through learning how to do it. You don’t do it for them. You do it with them.
I’m wondering what might happen if we stopped living like we cared what people saw if they watched closely. I have a dear friend who has gained wisdom from experiences with Christ that I’ve not had time or opportunity to have yet. Of all the gifts I’ve received on this earth, I don’t know that there has been a more precious gift to my heart than the fact that she allows me to live near enough her heart that I get to watch her life. Not just the public what she does in front of people life, but the way she chooses to live with her family and her friends in the quiet moments, and probably at times when she doesn’t know a soul is watching. I literally come home after time spent with her sometimes and take notes on what I learn from her life because I don’t ever want to forget. I ask for advice at moments and she won’t offer. She asks questions to help me come to conclusions within my own heart. What could take her 10 minutes to explain she allows me to process through for 2 hours sometimes 2 weeks. Always, always, always you’ll hear her say well I think Jesus would have….or have you been in the Word, cause that’s where I realign who I am and who He is. It’s been a tremendous gift. She has learned something about showing someone how to create a faith in Christ rooted deep and a life full of the things that matter.
I guess I just want to live a life that shows it. A life that nurtures other souls. A life that allows people to live near and encourages them to run towards Jesus. I wanna be sure enough of Jesus that I trust Him with their hearts and leave my words out of it. I wanna be a show-er and not push my own agenda or my own creeds. I’m convinced if I’m living a sold out life for Jesus, I won’t have to say much, my life will speak for itself. How foolish we will be if we continue to offer only what we can give or do, when His nail scarred hands offer the impossible.
Well now, guess that was the soapbox for this day. Help us Lord to hold the chainsaw in our own hands, better yet know You in our own hearts, deeply and intimately.
Blessings in abundance!