In Matthew 4 we find Jesus calling Simon (Peter), Andrew, James and John. His words are “Come and follow me and I will teach you how to be fishers of men.” Most of us have heard that story before. When we think about being a disciples of Jesus, most of us think about a story like this. We think being His disciple is about following him, and it is, but it is also about more. It is about learning. It is about allowing Him to teach us, to show us, to mold us, to make us like Him. A teacher teaching his students his ways, that is what the discipleship process was.
I think sometimes we get this image of “following Jesus” as joining Him on the way to a great place. Like it is a caravan that stops and picks up people on the way to a great party (the bible would use the term banquet). I can picture people hanging out the window of a bus yelling, “Hey come and join us! It’s going to be great!” Like all they need to do is hop on and enjoy the ride that is ending at a wonderful paradise.
We can’t forget the second part, “And I will teach you.” Follow, first, but follow Him to the classroom (which is your life) and learn from Him. We hear it when Jesus tells the crowd "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30. The yoke is what the farmer puts on the animals to help him do his work. The animals are trained in how to work, without training the farmers work would not be very productive, but with trained animals, very productive. We are not sharing a yoke with Christ, we are letting Him put it on us, and so He says, “Learn from me.”
As we have been trying to figure out how we are to fulfill this call to make disciples, (and just to make sure I keep putting it out there), we want to make disciples through connections, community, commitment and discipleship.) First, we worked on defining a disciple. So let me share with you what we are using as a definition. A disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ who has: 1. A surrendering life – (it is about being His), 2. A changing heart – (it is about being Holy), and 3. A developing servant’s attitude – (it is about being a servant). We intentionally came up with a definition that would work with our discipleship process. We are always growing, because we are always learning and because He is always teaching. Are we learning? Are we growing? Are we becoming more like Him? I hope you and I keep hearing the call to follow, but I hope that isn’t all we hear. I hope we let Him teach us. I hope we learn from Him.
Because of Him,
Rev. Lynn Beach is married to his college sweetheart, Michelle, and they have two adorable daughters. He has been at Park Church since July 2013.