A lesson about discipleship…from a dog

This is my little dog Zoe.  I got her in early December as a 3 ½ year old dog.  She is a long haired Chihuahua.

I was told that Zoe was shy, house trained, and had belonged to a show dog breeder and had been ‘retired’.  I was simply looking for a little ‘lap dog’ to sit beside me in my recliner as I prayed and studied.

So part of the ‘sales pitch’ was true but part was not.  She was definitely not house trained!  But Zoe was not shy so much as she had apparently been caged much of her life and didn’t really know how to be a dog.  I am trying to teach her how to be a dog.  Now isn’t that a funny thing to think about….having to teach a dog how to be a dog???

You see, when I got home with her, she didn’t know how to play AT ALL.  She didn’t know how to take a treat from my hand.  She certainly didn’t know what to do with a toy.  She wouldn’t go in and out a door without being picked up; she didn’t know how to go up and down stairs…even just 2 steps; she didn’t know how to drink or eat from a bowl.  All of these things I am in the process of teaching her.

However, she is a sweet and precious dog who does sit beside me quite nicely in my recliner!  🙂

But here’s what God has spoken to my heart through this experience.  So many times, we see people get saved and we expect them to ‘act’ like a Christian having never been taught ‘how’ to be a Christian…like it is something that comes “by instinct”.  Often our focus has been solely on evangelism and not discipleship.

Now personally, I think discipleship is best in a one-on-one or one-on-two setting.  But the problem seems to be that for so long we’ve not discipled new believers, that now there are few that are actually able to disciple. Therefore, we try to disciple in large groups which is seldom as effective.

I home schooled my 4 children for 9 years (not all at once).  I clearly saw that the learning process was so much more effective in that one-on-one environment as opposed to a classroom setting.  I knew when they ‘got it’ and could move on, or not, at the appropriate time.  It’s much the same with discipleship.  Not everyone learns at the same pace.  Therefore, while there is a place for ‘classroom type learning’ I believe smaller is better when it comes to discipleship.

So here’s the question…. do you need to be discipled by a more mature believer (don’t let pride rob you of this joy), or on the flip side, who are you discipling?  Actually I think we should be doing both!  We need older and more ‘mature in the faith’ people from whom we are learning, as well as we need to be sharing what we’ve learned with a younger believer.  This is a mandate from our Lord:

Matthew 28:19 – 20 (ESV)  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

To make disciples, we must disciple.  How can they (we) learn without being taught?  Yes, ultimately the Holy Spirit is our Teacher, but He most often uses people as His mouthpiece.

Yes, discipleship is time consuming, but the need is great and the laborers are few.

Luke 10:2  And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

So my challenge today is to ‘pray earnestly’ for laborers and but also be willing to be the one that is sent!

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