Thoughts on Making Disciples 3
Okay, back to thoughts on making disciples. I started with a couple motivations: 1. Having concluded that God has assigned us this work, I committed to it. 2. Glory - we are all meant to be righteous and to live in the joy of God's approving gaze. This glory being realized in people motivates me.
And we have to remember that these motivations are rooted in love: His love for the world and his love for me.
Properly motivated, where do I start? The work of making disciples must begin with non-Christians.
Recently, someone actually asked me "Why?" I was with my cousin, John, having drinks with another guy we love. The three of us started talking about faith, and at one point the guy says, "Why do you care? Why do you give a sh#t about what I believe?" It only sounded hostile; the dude really likes me.
It's a good, hard question. Rattled, I almost said the first thing that came to mind, "I don't really." Whether he intended to or not, his question asked another question, "What's in it for me?" And if for me, am I not just proselytizing?
It was, in gist, our friend's contention: "I'm fine. Why don't you leave me to believe what I believe?" Sounds reasonable enough. And so anything else seems intrusive, like proselytizing.
I drew on what we'd talked about earlier in our conversation. None of it really makes sense unless we understand God to be paternal. He is our Father. We are his children. The big story of the Bible is of a father who has lost his children. If he really is my father, I am a child he searched out and found. Having been saved myself, the real question is, "How can I not care?"
Then I quoted to him this from Isaiah 49, "Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are always before me."
The work of disciple making has to have its roots in this big story.