Posts Tagged ‘disciple’

Follow Me, He Said

October 5, 2016

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea–for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. (Mark 1)

Someone jarred my thinking the other day. He asked if we try to “make someone into a Christian.” That is a phrase I have heard often in evangelical circles.

So, you meet someone who is seeking; someone who has questions about purpose and life; someone not sure where they are going. What is your response?

Granted that these four men were prepared. We know that at least Andrew was with John the Baptist from other stories. But Jesus just said, “Follow me.”

And many other times in the stories, Jesus just offered an invitation, “Follow me.”

Jesus, in fact, never used the term Christian. It was first used a few years later by outsiders referring to the group in almost derogatory terms.

Jesus? He just offered invitations.

Shouldn’t we copy that? That’s what disciples of a teacher or master do–copy the teacher. He’s like the pattern and we try to form ourselves to it. And so, when we meet people rather than dumping a whole bunch of Bible verses on them we just offer a simple invitation. Follow him.

And what about us? Are we more concerned with following the law (and making sure everyone else follows the law, for we are mostly concerned about others)? Or do we simply follow.

Jesus told us to know the scriptures. Jesus told us to pray. Jesus told us to have faith.

Why do we make things so complicated and authoritarian? We follow and invite others to follow along with us. An invitation to a party is much more attractive than a command to behave.

You Have To Use It

August 17, 2015

“What good is it if he never used it?” Oxford student to his professor regarding Nietzsche on Inspector Lewis on PBS Masterpiece Mystery.

Nietzsche was most likely insane from syphillis during much of his life. Like some insane or “sub-threshhold” people, he could see into the human soul. He looked deeply into the 19th Century European soul and found darkness.

He also wrote about Das Übermensch, translated into English most literally as the Overman but popularly as Superman. He talked about the Will to Power. But he, himself, was not very powerful. He was sickly. 

Hence the comment by the student.

How many people do you know that know a lot but do little with it. I didn’t finish a formal engineering degree, but I used to work alongside many who did. Having enough knowledge to finish a degree did not make some of them an engineer. 

There are people with Masters degrees or Doctors degrees in various disciplines whose heads are filled with stuff. They go to leadership meetings and seminars. They can quote leadership stories. Tell leadership anecdotes. They couldn’t lead a group of children to a candy store.

There are people who can quote Scriptures for every circumstance. Do their lives reflect that they are disciples (by the way, my tradition and belief system is a follower of Jesus, but I observe the same problem with followers of Islam and Judaism)? It’s a human problem.

I am going through another cycle of studying the Proverbs. There are so many about accepting wise counsel. But also I read today that you can even tell a child’s character by what he does.

What good is it to say you’re a Christian and memorize reams of Scripture, and then your actions betray you as not a follower of Jesus?

Whom Are We To Judge?

July 21, 2015

1 Cor 5:12, “For what have I to do with judging those outside? Is it not for those inside that you are to judge?” 

We are to judge Jesus followers, not outsiders 

We should attract outsiders by how we show love within our fellowship. Hmm, how is that working for us? 

Don’t know about you, but sometimes my local fellowship strays far from this ideal. Rumors, lies, character assassinations. On the other hand, it can be a place of support, fellowship, concern, worship and prayer. 

As I wrote last week, sometimes it’s really hard to know what a “Christian” is by observing and listening.

We’ve had so many “prophets’ who build careers around exaggerated pronouncements about the society around us. Well, duh, Paul would tell us. Of course. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (OK, Paul wouldn’t know about rocket science, but give me a break) to figure out that people who are not following Jesus are also not following all of his commandments.

How to we get them to (for the most part) follow Jesus command? Well, by bringing them into discipleship with Jesus. I say “for the most part” because I wish that I could follow all of Jesus’ commands. But, he set the bar so high. OK, no excuse. Anyway, back to the argument. 

And how do we do that? Well, by showing them the good life that they could have as a disciple. 

Oh, we’re not modeling that love?

Maybe we need to look honestly into a mirror (me, too) and see where we fall short. Where did we say something to someone that was less than uplifting? Where did we not show mercy? When did we ignore a fellow human hurting?  

I’m willing to say that I’m guilty. How about you? 

That’s the first step. 

To Do Is To Be

December 31, 2014

Be as you wish to seem.
–Socrates

We know that you can change your mood just by changing how you act. Feel down, smile. Feel a little lethargic, go for a walk.

Personal development gurus, back when it mattered how you dress, advised dressing and acting like someone in the position to which you aspire.

I asked myself earlier this week, what sort of person do I want to be. I need to decide that before I do things like setting goals and that sort of thing.

Socrates turns the thought around, although in reflection I think I disagree a little with him.

He makes it more external. How do you wish to be seen by others? That’s one way to take the word “seem.”

I think I’d turn it around and make it a play on words which is a great memory tool. “Be as you wish to be.”

Be—as in act—as you wish to be—as in the type of character you want to develop the type of human that you would be recognized as.

We are presented opportunities every day to prove and improve our character. We choose to act or not act in the face of each opportunity. We can choose our model to help us do the right thing. That is the meaning of disciple—we are disciples of someone whom we wish to be like.

Pick your model—the one whom you will follow—wisely. Then we try to act at every opportunity like our teacher/mentor/model.

We can choose. Choose wisely. Then go and do. Or, be as you wish to be.