Just yesterday, I heard it again. It’s that misguided notion… no, it’s worse than that. It’s Satan’s attempt to mute followers of Jesus.
What am I talking about? It’s the thinking that “Making disciples is purely the job of the professional—the pastors and missionaries.” And what about the rest of us who claim to follow Jesus? This twisted thinking continues, “Our job is to support our pastors and missionaries as they make disciples.”
Friends, such thinking is a ploy of the evil one to mute Jesus’ disciples, to mute you and me. That’s right, if you call yourself a Christian, or a follower of Christ, these terms are synonymous with being His disciple. And as disciples of Jesus, He has given us the command (and privilege) to make disciples.
We so easily forget that Jesus’ first disciples were simple men. They were fishermen, a tax collector, a zealot, and other common laborers. They were not “professionals.”
When Andrew first met Jesus and decided to follow Him, “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah.’ And he brought him to Jesus.” (John 1:41-42) Andrew was already making disciples by bringing his brother to Jesus.
The next day, Jesus found Philip and told him to follow Him. “Philip found Nathaniel and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’” Philip immediately started making disciples and Nathaniel became Jesus’ disciple too. (John 1:45-49)
Then, there’s the woman at the well in John 4. The very day she came to know Jesus, she started telling others about Him. “And many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony.” (John 4:39)
When the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples for the first time at Pentecost, it wasn’t just the twelve. There were about 120 disciples on whom the Holy Spirit descended and who started telling the crowds “the wonders of God.” (See Acts 1:15; 2:1-11)
When Paul, Silas and Timothy preached the Gospel in Thessalonica, many came to Christ. And within a very short time the church there became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. Paul wrote, “The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere.” (1 Thessalonians 1:7-8)
And I could go on and on with examples of ordinary followers of Christ making disciples.
In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus told a very sobering parable that hits us square between the eyes. It’s the parable of the bags of gold.
“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.” – Matthew 25:14-18
The bags of gold represent the Gospel, the good news that Jesus has entrusted us with. But the majority of us are like that man who went off, dug a hold and hid his master’s money. To those who invested their master’s money, Jesus says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
But to the servant who hid his master’s money, Jesus replied, “You wicked, lazy servant!”
Those are harsh words. We don’t like to imagine those words coming from Jesus. And it doesn’t have to be that way.
If we’re honest, all of us have acted like that wicked, lazy servant at times. We’ve allowed Satan to mute us from sharing the Gospel with others. We’ve delegated disciple-making to the so-called professionals.
From this day forward, every waking day, let’s pray, “Lord, please use me today to represent You well to others through my life and words.” Then, look for opportunities that God places in your path and take advantage of them.
Also, find one other person to meet with weekly. Men, choose a man. Women, choose a woman. When you meet pray for each other. Challenge each other in your walk with Christ. Encourage each other. Share your lives with each other. We cannot grow in Christ apart from relationships like this with other followers of Christ. And then watch what God does. This is discipleship.
If we do those simple things, we’ll no longer be mute. We won’t be like that wicked, lazy servant. We’ll be disciple-makers like Jesus commanded us to be. (Matthew 28:18-20)