Discipleship can be one of those tricky words. It carries the idea of becoming more like Jesus, but how do you know when you’ve reached it? I think this is one reason so many churches create discipleship classes because then you can at least cross things off your list.
The problem is that you can attend all the classes, read all the books and still not be anything like Jesus.
The question a disciple needs to wrestle with is: When people see me, do they see Jesus in my life? Do they look at me and think, “That’s probably what Jesus would be like at the soccer game, at Starbucks, around the dinner table or interacting with a cashier after a long day.”
In this way, discipleship takes on a daily meaning in addition to having applicability.
I think one of the failings of the church has been our ability to separate discipleship from life. By doing this, we’ve allowed people to think they can’t do it or that it isn’t for them. It is for spiritual people, women, kids, pastors, or theologians.
But, if my calling as a disciple of Jesus is to disciple my neighbor to Jesus, then I can do that by working on a car with him on the weekend. I can open up seats at my table and have people around it so we can spend time together, talk about life, our joys and sorrows and see how God is working. I can brighten someone’s day simply by showing up, giving a smile or saying hello.
Discipleship has then become something I can do and can see the tangible benefits for me and others from it.
What’s interesting in the gospels is how often Jesus helped people or served them or did something with them when he was discipling them. He didn’t sit them down and open a book, he walked, ate, laughed, cried, gave a hug or simply was there. He did things that we do every day, but he did them with gospel intentionality.
The thing that I’m often telling my church is, “Look where you spend time, look at the places you go every day, every week. Look at the people you run into, the circles of relationships you are in. How can you go there with gospel intentionality? How can you go there knowing that God placed you and not someone else there?”
When we realize that, we begin to see divine appointments pop up and we see how God can use our lives and we see how God is using our lives.
All because, we live life with gospel intentionality.