Viewpoint from Judith Edmonds 05/02/16
Member, Park Baptist Church
Webmaster, Network Yarmouth
as published in the Yarmouth Mercury
Isn't it interesting that Jesus Christ never said to make disciples by taking them to church—or to a Bible study group, for that matter. Not that these activities aren't an integral part of a disciple's growth, but that’s not the starting point and the Lord has something much more personal in mind
The word entrust (in 2 Timothy 2:2) was a first century banking term that literally meant "to make a deposit". Paul is saying in this text, "You have learned things from me, Timothy; now I want you to take that truth and personally deposit it into the lives of other disciples"
When you teach a child something about Christ, you are making a deposit into his heart; when you share Scripture or prayer with another believer, you are making a life-on-life deposit that Christ would define as true discipleship
I believe that what I have been taught has reflected that model and that is what I hope to be doing in my everyday life by my words and, more importantly, my actions and that's what discipleship is: taking what Jesus Christ taught us and depositing it into the lives of other believers. I am reminded of the instruction attributed to St Francis of Assisi: “preach the Gospel every day, using words only if necessary”. This is how we can demonstrate God’s love
There are four components that define true discipleship. The first is touch. You can't disciple at a distance. The only way iron can sharpen iron is through personal connection. This is the touch that invests when others withdraw; it perseveres when others disappear
Second, you must make the commitment of time. You won't be able to reproduce your life and passion for Christ in a day. You didn't grow overnight—we humans aren't like Jack's beanstalk! We're more like oak trees that need a lot of time to grow before fruit begins to appear
The third component is truth: the truth of God's Word. This keeps the discipleship process on track, rather than one opinion contradicting another. Without truth, discipleship of any kind—coaching a team, tutoring a student, teaching an instrument—will not have permanence. The centre of spiritual discipleship is the truth of Scripture
The fourth is commitment: we cannot demonstrate God’s absolute love for us without giving of ourselves for the benefit of others, whether convenient or not!
The goal is more than information... it's transformation