My Affliction for His Glory

Day 5 of 8 • This day’s reading


Born to Make Disciples

I became a Christian at fifteen years old and in the couple of years that followed, three men took time to “disciple” me. That meant that they took the time to show me the ins and outs of what it meant to follow Jesus with your whole life. Each of these men—my student pastor Dan Bare, apologist Alex McFarland and local evangelist Dale Elwell—poured into me in very unique ways.

God used my time with Dan to teach me what it meant to root my entire identity in Christ alone. God used Alex to help me see the importance of God’s Word, which would one day be a pillar of how I functioned as a pastor. Through the time that Dale spent discipling me, I saw the importance of leading and loving your own family even in the face of a busy ministry schedule. God used these men to be a big influence in my life.

All three men were a big encouragement in my life and all three men challenged me to go and do the same with other men in my life. They were giving me the same challenge that Jesus gave His followers, “to go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19-20)—but that made me REALLY nervous! I wasn’t nearly as wise or capable as those men who discipled me. Who was I to tell anyone what it meant to follow Jesus?

I clung to all sorts of excuses as to why God could not use me to make disciples. At least that was until I read these words at the beginning of Jeremiah:

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.

All those excuses I had built up in my own mind were now extinguished. Being called by God to show others how to follow Him, is not dependent on our own wit and will. God asks us to tell the world about Him, and He gives us everything that we need to do it.

The Great Commission is not a mission statement for pastors, it is marching orders for the church. Either we buy excuses to justify our disobedience, or we rest in grace so that we may speak of grace. The choice is ours.