My daughter learned to walk in these past few weeks. She took her first solo steps while we were on vacation. But it was a process that began several months ago, as she got comfortable standing, then holding our hands trusting us not to let go, gaining the courage to push a toy and cruise the furniture, and finally letting go and trying on her own. Where before her little face expressed concern with each step, now as she walks she has a huge grin on her face.
She didn’t learn by reading a book, going to a class, hanging out with other babies her age — it happened because she was surrounded by experts in walking. Surrounded by people who encouraged her, praised her, and sometimes put her back on her feet when she’d fall or would rather crawl.
Discipleship is essential
Why am I telling you all this? Because some of us Christians are still spiritually crawling when we should be walking and running. And some of us should be holding others’ hands and teaching them to walk, being present and affirming. Yes, I’m talking about discipleship.
My children are all disciples. They are at different levels of learning, one to write essays, one to spell words, one to speak words… but they all require instruction. There is at all times a different need for us to be learners. That means taking a risk, because we have to become vulnerable to asking to be discipled. It means recognizing that we don’t know it all and don’t do life alone, and that having someone come alongside us and help us to grow will challenge and stretch us to be shaped by God.
As Christians, we cannot be engaged in the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God, in the progress of the Gospel in us that transform us, if we do not commit to being good stewards of our time and relationships. Disciples are handcrafted, not mass-produced. Disciples grow and bloom from personal relationships. We need more commitment to the eternal things and less to the temporary. We need to commit to being disciples, committed learners, and that means allowing in the God-ordained relationships that will grow us spiritually.
We all need each other. We were made to be connected. God wants us to share our wisdom gained through experience, to remind each other of Jesus words, to encourage and pray for each other, and to keep each other accountable.
My boys were pretty excited to teach their sister to walk, and they are pretty proud of themselves in seeing her now walk independently. Sometimes she still wants a hand to hold on to, but don’t we all do sometimes? My boys are more than happy to reach out and take her hand.
Remember that being a disciple is a life-long journey but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be disciplining someone else in this journey.
You and I are called to produce the next generation of disciples.