And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Making disciples has been key to me. When I go and reach out to share Jesus, I also stay. By that I mean, I go to them and intend to stay in their lives. Jesus taught many, but poured into 12 men. He shared His teachings, but also brought them into His daily life of weddings, ministry to others, travel, and even asked them to pray during His darkest hour. He explained God's ways on a deeper level with them and invited them into His daily life.
I've received it first-hand. When I was a teen, a family poured their lives into me. I visited them for a few hours after school each day and spent many weekends with them. I witnessed daily life in their home. My friend Stephanie and her brother, David taught me how to live honoring God as a high schooler. I watched Ma'm (what I called her mom) take jobs that allowed her to be home after school every day for her kids, make her husband home-made bread and biscuits to show him love and I adored how they called each other by their pet name for each other. I learned that when we love someone, we obey by watching Steph's little sister, Sarah, practice the piano out of obedience to her parents when I knew she'd rather play video games. I saw family fights. They invited me to spend nights with them, sit at church with them, go on skiing trips, and to amusement parks with them. I heard encouragement and advice given when anyone sought it.
And I felt safe and loved as I poured out my fears, anger, and questions. Again and again, Ma'am would stop what she was doing and sit at the table with me. She'd listen and then encourage or scold me (masked subtly by her sweet southern voice). Sometimes even Sir would counsel me from the Word (usually affirming the things Ma'am said before but I ignored). They always stocked Sprite and Cheez-its (my favorites) in the kitchen, which reminded me that I was a welcome addition to their daily lives. And it didn't end when I moved and they moved. They continue to love and support our family today. Sir even counseled Andy and I when we were clueless whether or not he should go back to school for audio engineering. That conversation and prayer time was the first step towards our role now as full time missionaries. They continue to pour Christ into me through their lives.
|Enjoying Downtown Disney together last summer!|
This is exactly what I pray for His strength to do for others. Pour Christ into others by pouring His truths and my life into them consistently over time. When I get to know someone at the playground, I want to invite them over for dinner or meet them for coffee and see where God may lead it. When someone asks for prayer, I want to pray right then. And then keep praying. And let them know over time that I remember and I care because God cares and He is near. For some, as God calls, I want to meet weekly to listen to them, care for them, pray with them, and point them to Him. In my home, I want to intentionally pour His Word, truth, love, and grace into my children daily as we experience life together. It varies in different seasons and with different people, but I've learned that true discipleship is not official meetings, it's inviting them to experience Christ by coming into my life and me engaging in theirs over time.
Here's something else I've learned. It isn't easy. Sometimes pouring into others means giving up down time because the phone rings or someone sends a deep question or fear in my facebook private message. Sometimes it's watching their kids so they can go have a good cry or spending hours crying with them as they hurt and grieve. Often it's messy. Life is messy, so when we invite others in and get in their lives, messy comes with it. Really engaging over time with people will involve many fun times. But also loving them through sin, hard trials, serious hurts, and sometimes scary or tragic situations. It's hard. But Jesus promises that we can do it in His power, through Him, and He gives us strength to endure, wisdom to be a good friend, and such joy in the process.
This is discipleship: pouring the love of Christ I've received into others through teaching them His truths and inviting them to see Christ at work in our lives over time. It's an incredible (and sometimes scary) responsibility and honor given by Christ to pour His love into others.