Here at Simple Disciplemaking we are about simplifying the process. Making disciples shouldn’t be complicated. It might be challenging at times, but you don’t need years of training and a degree in order to bear fruit in your life. As we read from the first challenge, it was God’s idea first that you would make disciples, and He has given you everything you need to make the next step. What do I think is one of our biggest barriers? Besides the need for whole-hearted committed people, I believe a simple change in the way we think can change how we live our life. As Gary pointed out two weeks ago, changing our mind is the very essence of repentance.
According to The Barna Group’s research on the State of Disicpleship, Christian leaders and educators believe that the two biggest barriers to making disciple are, “the general “busyness” of life and a lack of commitment to discipleship.” The ironic thing is Barna also found that, “85 percent of church leaders say busyness is a major obstacle to discipleship, while only 23 percent of practicing Christians say the same.” I think there are some useful observations here, but from this research, and in the church, clarity on what the issues really are aren’t very clear.
What do you think?
Did Jesus have anything to say about this?
Let’s look at one parable Jesus often taught, the Parable of the Sower from Matthew chapter 13. I encourage you to read it, but I will summarize it here.
There was a farmer who scattered a lot of seed. Some of the seed fell on rocky soil, some along the path, some under thorns and some on good soil. Each place the seed fell a different result happened according to the soil in which it was buried. The seed in good soil produced a crop that bore much fruit over and over again, and the seed in the other soils had issues and did not bear any fruit. Jesus explained the need for good soil, and what unfruitful soil looks like in everyday life.
I always read this parable reflecting on the soil that is in my own heart. Is my heart good soil or not? Maybe you have done the same? I think this parable has another application as well. While it is good to take inventory of the condition of our heart, we can also learn something from the sower. Actually I want us to take away two things.
The sower sowed seed everywhere. He also paid attention to the receptivity of the soil.
We can walk away from what Jesus said here with two discipleship principles:
Sow lots of seed. In other words, Galatians 4:10 says, “as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” It’s easy to worry about how someone will receive the words you speak to them, but the reality is you will never know until you speak. In life, but also in making disciples you are only in control of one thing, your actions. It all starts by doing good, sowing a seed, speaking into what you see God doing in their life, giving encouragement or just a shoulder to lean on. You have people in your life. They are the soil, and you can sow seeds in everyone of them.
Pay attention to receptivity. In the parable each soil brought forth something. Look for the soil that responds well. Jesus did this. He extended an invitation to Peter to follow Him. Jesus also extended the same invitation to the rich man in Matthew 19. The difference was Peter showed receptivity, the rich man did not. Jesus chose to give His time to Peter because of Peter’s receptivity. We can and should do this as well.
Here’s the challenge:
Study, pray over and reread the Parable of the Sower.
With at least one person this week ask this question, “What is God doing in your life right now?” From there, listen, ask open ended questions, and encourage them based off what you see God doing.
Don’t forget. I’m praying for you in this.
Yours in the journey,