“Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” These were Yeshua’s words to four fishermen who left life as they had known it and became His disciples. Discipleship is a partnership which should flow in both directions between the teacher and the student. Even Yeshua, the anointed King Messiah, needed partners to share the vision – people faithful to the call of God on their lives.
For a congregation to grow and enter into the vision God gives, there needs to be direction and following (disciples). This is true for all areas of life, even in the modern business world. There is a limit to how much one leader/administrator can carry on his or her shoulders.
Interestingly, in Matthew 4:21-22 the two brothers left their father to follow Yeshua. There is very little background given, but they most likely grew up in the family fishing business. They had employment, which if not lucrative, was at least secure. What would compel them to leave? I believe they saw Yeshua’s authority, faithfulness and anointing.
Another intriguing point to consider is the age difference between these men and Yeshua. It would appear that they were close in age, which gives us understanding that someone’s age does not necessarily determine their ability to teach, lead and be an example to others. At age 30, after being tested in the desert and withstanding Satan’s temptation, Yeshua began to gather disciples. It is important to remember that we will be better equipped to disciple others after having faced our own tests. These tests give us the ability to speak to others from our own personal experiences.
Reflecting the character of a loving father is one of the most crucial elements in discipleship. How do we see this character in connection with discipleship in the congregation? Some of the greatest obstacles can be communication and lack of trust on the side of the person receiving the investment. Yet, in spite of the obstacles, maintaining a heart to invest in others both inside and outside the congregation should be a big part of our lives.
Lastly, we must be aware of the danger of manipulating and controlling those in whom we are investing. Our purpose is not to make people dependent upon us, but to be independent in Him. People should be free to grow and develop in serving God in the gifts and calling He put on their lives. Together we are serving not ourselves but God.