I love the discipleship process that Jesus initiated. The utterly amazing fact that He took 12 VERY ORDINARY men who had little to no education and these 12 men ignited a fire across the world that remains to this day.
There are several things that Jesus did that are key to the success of His followers. One in particular is that He invested His time and Himself.
The Apostle Paul likewise picks up on this in 2 Corinthians 12: 15 “I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls….” Unlike the popular preachers of today, who fill the airwaves with their pronouncements of God’s word and too often fill their pockets with the dollars sent in by the naive, Paul laid his life down on behalf of others. He expended himself. I do not think this concept is understood by American churches.
Nearly a decade ago I heard someone who excelled in making disciples say, “I look at every new disciple and imagine a clock on them. The clock is the hours that I take to pour into them. I am convinced that it takes hundreds of hours to make this new person a disciple.”
I was blown away by this thought. Until that moment, I was dispensing, to those with whom I was meeting, (what I thought was) my vast theological understanding. I mean, come on, if this person just grasped these truths which I dished out to his intellect then all would be right in his world and I could proudly point and say “this is one I discipled.”
Instead, I now realize that I need to walk with these young men. I need to engage them. I need to spend my time and expend my energy. I need to labor in prayer that they would be transformed (Greek word for “labored earnestly” in Colossians 4:12 is ἀγωνίζομαι …. we get the word “agonize”.)
Do I labor and agonize in prayer on my knees for these young men? Do I dig into their hearts and expose the strongholds and walk with them as they wrestle with life’s issues? They still need and require the doctrinal truths, but to limit the discipleship process to mere informational truth, will, in the end, prove to be of little transformational value.
I find that there is a direct correlation between the time spend, the sacrificial energy spent and the transformation authentically seen in their lives. I can attest that there is great joy in my life as well as in the lives of others as a result of time spent. Dive in! Give yourself away! Spend and be expended for others! It is worth the investment.