Sustainability, mentoring, and collaborationare buzzwords in current leadership trends. We glean wisdom from the secular world, but there is an age old current that should be first priority in the life of a Christian leader.
Jesus' goal was making disciples. It was the command he presented to the world at his departure.
Christians are not instructed to become a mentor or build with sustainability and collaboration. We are to be Jesus' followers and make disciples. There is a difference. Paradigms and methodologies are helpful, but never lose sight of the primary goal. Discipleship is our mandate. It will produce longer lasting results, besides.
Be a Disciple
1 Kings 17 introduces us to Elijah. Elijah was a prophet of God. Whatever Elijah said, came to pass. He was the real deal.
Before he was prophet, Elijah was disciple of the Most High. He was hidden by the Brook Kerith, alone with God and the ravens. There, Elijah discovered the art of abiding. He learnt to trust God, and listen to his voice.
First and foremost, we are disciples of Jesus Christ. We abide in him, and hear his voice.
From time to time in our Christian walk God gives us Brook Kerith experiences. Periods of awakening and enlightenment, where God personally ministers to us. Intervals of deeper reflection and revelation. Where we, like Mary, sit at Jesus’ feet. They build and equip us for things to come.
If this is your season, make communing with him your focus. Appreciate time with him. Soak in his love.
Those times in life are precious. But they are not reality. Elijah did not get fed by ravens forever. He had to go back to dealing with real life. Elijah was ministered to for a deeper purpose.
When reality hit, it was Elijah's time to discipline others. Even if they were unlikely candidates.
God’s purpose for human beings has always been to make disciples. The role of the discipler is to multiply one's life in the lives of others, as charged in Genesis 1:28.
More often than not, disciples are broken. Misfits. Hurt. Lonely. Desperate.
Elijah's calling was no different. His job was to make disciples out of a destitute widow and her son. From the outset he was hit with stubbornness, resentment, and disbelief. Sound familiar?
Elijah was not moved. He knew it was the place God wanted him. He did not abandon his post. He poured his life into the widow and her son. Death was not strong enough to stop him from his role as discipler in their lives.
Making disciples is not easy. Often thankless, and full of oppressed and bitter people. Don’t go back to the brook and hide.
In this world you will have trouble, but take heart...
Let me encourage you with the words of the widow of Zarephath:
Then the woman told Elijah, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the Lord truly speaks through you” (1 Kings 17:24)
In all the work you have done through the years, there are people who believe God speaks through you. Keep discipling. Continue believing the best. That is when miracles happen.
The woman of Zarephath was Elijah's disciple. We often think that the role of a mentor is to feed the devotee, but in 1 Kings 17, the discipled fed the discipler. What have you been feeding your mentor lately? Have you been feeding him complaint and gossip? Or encouragement and loyalty?
Where ever you are on the discipleship journey, God has placed you in the presence of a discipler. Sometimes she may require things of you that seem unfair and unreasonable. It may appear he is using you with nothing in return. If you obey God, and feed the mentor he has placed before you, there will always be supply.
The widow of Zarephath needed a miracle. Death knocked at her door, twice. Both times, her discipler was the catalyst for her miracle. She needed Elijah. She needed his discipleship.
You may want to leave your discipler and find greener pastures elsewhere. Make sure you hear from God. Your discipler may be the key to your miracle. When hard times hit, you want him in your corner. She may be the breakthrough you desire. Persevere, and you will see the hand of God.
The Lord blesses discipling relationships. Savour being his disciple, impart what you know in others. More than any other leadership craze, discipleship produces lasting fruit.
Sarah Coleman is an Australian author and communicator. Her books include Single Christian Female and Make Yourself Amazing. She is passionate about the Kingdom of God. She also loves being a wife and mother to two boys. To read more of Sarah's thoughts go to sarahcoleman.com.au.