DISCIPLES HELP OTHERS FOLLOW JESUS
7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9
Who are the people in our lives that we truly imitate. I know that when I was younger my dad hung the moon. There was nothing that my dad could not do and I constantly would watch every move that he made. I would study it because my greatest goal was to be like my dad. I can be honest and say that I didn't want to go into the military like my dad, but that was not because I was afraid of serving my country. It was plainly because I did not want to move all of the time. I wanted to find a place that I could call home and settle there and grow deep roots in the community and allow my kids to build great friendships that would last them a lifetime. Well, I did not go into the military per say, but I went into God's Army and I found out that there was just as much moving and change when I surrendered my life to Jesus. I say all of that because I wanted to imitate my dad to be the best that I could be. He was an amazing example of a person that worked hard in serving his country, taking care of his family and most importantly serving God. I am completely humbled because my dad taught me almost everything I know, and he did it by walking with me daily and allowing me to try, allowing me to succeed, and allowing me to fail. He was always there to rejoice with me and to correct me, and I just wish that we all had people in our lives that were willing to pour into us in that way.
So our essential part for discipleship today is the fact that disciples help others to follow Jesus. We are all in this together believe it or not. We truly are working together to find ways to reach even more people for God's Kingdom. Not just on earth, but also for as many people as possible that can join with us in eternity in heaven. One of the greatest goals of a disciple is to multiply. And this ideal should always be our mindset and our goal. Just today I had a chance to have a conversation with one of the students I disciple on a semi weekly basis. I asked him who are the people that youare pouring into or what legacy are you
looking to leave behind once you graduate. As we are growing as disciples, we have to remember that we are not only looking to be poured into by people, but that we are looking to find others that we are capable of pouring into as well. The greatest way to continue to build God's Army is to pour into the lives of those who are walking with us already. Some people just don't know what to do to follow Jesus. They really have no clue about what it truly means to be a disciple. They honestly think that it may be checking a box for coming to church or helping occasionally on a service project. Most people do not understand that being a disciple can and should be a complete life change of following Jesus. It does not mean that we are meant to be occasional or casual Christians, but that we are called to go much deeper than that as a result of our relationship with Christ.
As we look into Paul's letter to the people of Thessalonica, we are watching as Paul is actually scolding them a little for being lazy Christians. He writes about the example that he laid out for them when they were in Thessalonica. They worked hard for their food and continued to do everything possible to let others know that there were no expectations they had for handouts. They wanted to be an example for Jesus, and they wanted to do everything possible to make sure others knew that being a disciple meant that they were to be examples in the community. Unfortunately, the people became stagnant and lazy. They wanted to receive things because of who they were and not because of their hard work. So Paul does what Paul did well, he spoke to them with authority and told them that they needed to get their act together and stop relying or waiting for Christ to return. It was an attitude where they did not want to put in the effort if Christ was coming soon. Well, I used this scripture as an encouragement for us as well. We are not supposed to sit back and live off the lives of those that went before us. We are to set an example to others and spur each other on towards completion in Christ. We are to walk beside each other and both hold each other accountable and help others to draw strength in times of need. There is a true need for disciples to walk beside and help build disciples in this generation or we should not be surprised if the Church becomes something that is more about being a social hour and less about multiplying disciples.
I told you on the first day of the week that all of this is not going to be easy to swallow, but as followers of Christ we need to open our eyes to the realities surrounding us. Churches are closing and one of the greatest reasons is that we have become lazy in trying to produce disciples willing to disciple. We all want the knowledge to protect ourselves and to grow ourselves deeper, but we have to realize that as disciples we have been called to GO and
MAKE DISCIPLES. Jesus was very adamant about what our calling needed to be in regards to being a disciple. Jesus also called us to make more disciples. Remember in scripture when many asked to go and take care of their affairs or to go and bury their parents. Jesus simply replied, let the dead bury the dead. Jesus was not insensitive to their requests, but it was a test of the heart of being a disciple and forsaking it all to follow Jesus. Another example is when Jesus said in Luke 9:62, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." Jesus was simply stating that we who have decided to commit our lives to God means that we believe God will save us when we repent from our sins through the blood of Jesus Christ. We have committed to move forward and when we look back and take our eyes off of Jesus, we will find that our lives could become crooked and our fields will not yield a full harvest. We will find that we will struggle to grow deeper as a disciple and fail to provide ways to multiply other disciples as well. When we look into the situation on a personal level, I am asking you these key questions. 1. Do you consider yourself a disciple of Christ? 2. If yes, how are you growing in your walk daily with God? 3. Who has God placed in your path to walk beside and nurture to become a stronger disciple as well. 4. If no, do you need someone to walk beside you to help you become a stronger disciple so that you can begin to help others in their walk as well? These are questions we need to ask ourselves daily, and we need to be honest with our answers. Who is leading you and who are you leading to be a stronger disciple for God?