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  • Elpidio Pezzella

No One is Born a Disciple

"Make disciples".

(Matthew 28:19 NKJV)

That of disciples is not a title acquired at birth, but a role that requires willingness, desire and commitment, starting with a personal decision. Many contemporary churches, from different latitudes, are focusing their activities no longer on education and training for service, but on a feverish demand for entertainment: music acts as a diversion, meetings and shared planning have short-lived perspectives, aiming more at meeting the pleasures and "fashions" of the moment rather than the precepts of Scripture. Clive Staples Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia, well summarized the thought that might antagonize this phenomenon: "Everything that is not eternal is eternally unfashionable. Anything that does not pertain to our eternal salvation, spiritual calling or biblical faith should be deemed unfashionable, thus kept out of the church. In these contexts it is not uncommon for those with a more fundamentalist approach to Scripture to be branded as "unfashionable believers". Our commitment is to devote ourselves to things that are not corruptible by moth or rust or that can be taken away by thieves (Matt. 6:19-20): we desire to live a faith projected to eternity and to God. Never be influenced by human judgments and opinions.


Jesus was looking to us and after us when in choosing disciples he recommended that they make other disciples. Every believer should mature the conviction that we are also disciples, and as such have a Master to follow, from whom to draw and whose footsteps to retrace. As with the first disciples, for all believers, of all centuries and generations, and thus for us as well, Jesus' imperative returns, "Make disciples!" If every disciple had complied with that command today the numbers would be different. Perhaps it is because everyone who has been called has not yet chosen to be a disciple. I can find no other plausible explanation. Important, then, would be to understand who the disciple is and outline the traits that distinguish him. Various teachings are in circulation that try to classify every believer as a disciple. In principle that is how it should be, but the facts show that many are those who live a passive faith, listen to preaching, receive teaching and participate in activities but do not engage in service and evangelism. To endorse the thesis that not all believers are disciples, we need only recall the crowd that followed Jesus: disciples were chosen from that crowd. It is clear from the biblical texts that disciples were not just twelve, but that the group was larger. When, however, the going became harder many left: to the smaller handful of men who remained, Jesus asked if they would like to leave as well (John 6:67).


Life puts before the believer's path difficult moments, crossroads and circumstances that require a choice, and, it is not always easy to choose to be on the Lord's side. The disciple succeeds in putting His kingdom and His Righteousness before everything: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). Are you willing? Every disciple should commit himself to clothe himself with the cloak of the master. "Then he said to Gehazi, “Get yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the child”" (2 Kings 4:29). When the cloak becomes a staff one has lost the sense of the things of the Spirit. One has enclosed divine action in our schemes, in processes to be controlled or used on command, just like a staff. The prophets' cloak was a humble garment, of camel's hair, not at all showy. That is why those who serve God do not try make a show and display off the power of the Spirit. It is also true that when Elisha is attracted to Elijah, his only desire is to follow him, never to leave him, to the point of having him inside him with a double part of his spirit. The anointing cannot be transferred, as it is not a human endowment. Here then, "lift up your eyes, ... if you will see...".


 

Weekly Bible Reading

Plan #50

December 05, Daniel 1-2; 1 John 4

December 06, Daniel 3-4; 1 John 5

December 07, Daniel 5-7; 2 John

December 08, Daniel 8-10; 3 John 3

December 09, Daniel 11-12; Jude

December 10, Hosea 1-4; Revelation 1

December 11, Hosea 5-8; Revelation 2

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