True Discipleship

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

That is actually the title of a book that I have read many times in my life. It talks about what it really means to be a discipleship of Christ and explains the cost. I thought it was a fitting title as I wrap up my time reading the book Not a Fan. It has been a good and challenging study and I am still not there. That is one of my challenges, what does it take to be a true disciple? So, after many weeks of studying this subject, I thought I would put my final thoughts in this blog post.

I thought I would like to summarize by going over a passage in Luke 9:57-62. This passage talks about three people who came across Jesus’ path as He was traveling with his disciples. The first man actually came up to Jesus on his own and said basically, “I will follow You anywhere.” Jesus gives a curious answer and talks about foxes having holes and birds having nests but He Himself, has none of this. In today’s language, Jesus’ response was, “Dude!!! I got no home!!” I really didn’t understand His response until recently. What Jesus said was that following Him, would cost this man’s comfort and security. We are not really told what happened after that but the inference is that the man walked away.

Unlike the first encounter, Jesus came up to the second man and said “follow me.” Again, the second man basically said, “sure, Jesus, but first let me bury my father.” This was certainly not an unreasonable request. The man even started off his excuse by saying “Lord.” But is second word was “first.” (Lord, first let me go bury my father). Some scholars think that the man’s father was still alive, and that the man was basically saying that when his parents died, he would follow Jesus. Regardless of what the situation was Jesus wasn’t interested in his excuses. Jesus said in so many words, “let others stay back to take care of this, you go preach the Gospel.” Again, we are left with the inference that the man walked away and did not follow Jesus.

The third encounter was similar to both the others. First, it seems the man approached Jesus without being asked. Second, he also had an excuse. “I will follow You, Lord, but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” Jesus gives a strong rebuke here and tells the man that you need to follow me and not look back. The man was willing to follow Jesus. But that was not his first priority. He wasn’t willing to go “all in.” If you were at Stonepoint last January you may remember Pastor Brandon did a short series last January with the title “All In” here at church. It is appropriate. Jesus must be first with us holding nothing back. Otherwise it just will not work.

I know this sounds tough. Please know that I am not preaching at you. But studying about discipleship has really made me analyze my own life for several months now. Please also know that I have not fully reached the points that I am about to make. But I so desire this life of true discipleship. So here is the summary of my study.

  • Salvation is free. But being a Christ follower will cost us everything. Practically for me, that means I need to turn everything over to the Lord.  My house, how long I live and what I do with my life, my money, my reputation, my friends and relationships, everything. It all must be the Lord’s. What if Jesus tells you or me to sell our house, leave our home and go to (you name the worst place you would want to go). Would we be able to do that?
  • Jesus must be first in everything. We cannot make excuses or postpone decisions to follow Jesus when He calls us. When Jesus walked the beach and called Peter and his friends what was their response? The Bible says, they left everything and followed Him. No excuses, nothing held back.
  • There will be hardship and testing. We can expect Satan to challenge us in a decision to be a disciple of Jesus. I listened to some end of year speeches of our graduating class of students today. One young man mentioned that this year here at the ministry cost him many things, a possible marriage, giving up friends and family, etc. He made the decision to do that. I was proud of him.
  • Discipleship requires a daily dying to self. This is different for all of us, but basically I think it means that we need to make choices that will please and serve our Lord’s causes than our own causes.

So that’s about it. I wish I had room to quote the entire letter that the first missionary from America, Adoniram Judson, wrote to a man about marrying his daughter. But this post is already too long. Adoniram was in love with a young lady named Anne whom he wanted to marry and then leave for Burma (Myanmar).  He wrote a letter to her father asking for Anne’s hand. It was unlike any proposal letter ever written. He basically asked Anne’s father if he could part with Anne and never see her again. He further asked if he could accept Anne’s subjection to hardship, sufferings, fatal influences of the climate in India and Burma, insult, persecution and maybe an early and violent death. Some proposal letter, huh? Anne’s father told Adoniram that he would leave the decision to Anne. There is a letter that Anne wrote to her friend Lydia that said in part: “…I expect…to spend my days in this world in heathen lands. Yes, Lydia, I have about come to the determination to give up all my comforts and enjoyments here, sacrifice my affection to relatives and friends, and go where God in His providence, shall see fit to place me.”

Adoniram and Anne went to Burma. Adoniram was put in prison for over a year. While he was in prison Anne gave birth to their daughter Maria. Anne was sick and her milk dried up. But mercifully a guard at the prison would let Adoniram out of prison each evening so he could take the baby into the village and beg for women to nurse the baby. Soon after Adoniram was released, Anne died from spotted fever at the age of 37. If you have read this far, you might be thinking something like “what a wasted life.” But because of Adoniram’s and Anne’s life and sacrifice, the entire Bible was translated into Burmese. I read that today that there are some 3,700 congregations that all trace their beginning to the Judsons.

Sorry, I know I probably should have written about something more cherry and appropriate to the season, like how much God loves us and that gives us new life and all that. But discipleship is not about new life, it’s about dying to self. Being a sensitive and feeling person, my heart is hurt and is broken over my life in this area of discipleship. Would you please pray for me, that for whatever part of my life I have left (I am 68), that I will surrender all to Jesus and walk whatever He calls me to?  Thank you.

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