Matthew 28:19-20 – Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (NIV)
My brother, who lives in our cabin, is the gardener in our family. So, when he went to Mexico in the fall, he asked me to start the spring seedlings so that they would be ready for him to plant when he got back in May.
Oh my, what a huge responsibility, I thought. I had never tried growing seedlings before. Even if I could get them to sprout, would I be able to keep them alive until he got home a month later? I was tempted just not to attempt the task and tell him that we would have to visit the garden centre when he got home. But then, I decided, as God is my helper, that I should at least give it a go. And so, I did.
I prayed about where to place the little peat pots with their precious seeds, and how often to water them, and what soil to use. To my great delight and amazement, they grew. As I write, they are still alive and growing and looking very healthy and hardy.
In fact, when my brother got back from his trip and I showed them to him, I felt like a proud parent, and I hated to think that soon he would be taking them away to plant in the outdoor garden. I had grown very fond and protective of my little sprouts.
This small venture brought to my mind how fond and protective God must be of every new little Christian seedling that has been planted and begun to grow through the hearing of the Word. In fact, the last command that Jesus gave to His disciples was that they were to go and make disciples, followers of Him. Making disciples is much like tending my little seedlings. It takes time and care and protection. New believers in Christ face many obstacles, temptations, and discouragements as they begin their new walk with God. Therefore, it is important that from the body of Christ they experience acceptance, friendship, encouragement, and mentoring. However, the big question is, do we smile when we are introduced to a new Christian and think how nice it is that a new seedling has sprouted spiritually but then go on about our business, never taking or making the time to be an encouragement and/or a mentor to this new little one? Do we feel within ourselves that the task of discipleship is just too much of a responsibility for us, and that we don't have the time or the knowledge to help them? After all, what if we blow it, and they wither and die because of our poor example? If so, then we must also look at the next thing that Jesus said after His last command: "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Within this promise, we find the answer to our doubts concerning the responsibility of discipleship. For if we truly believe that Jesus is always with us, then we must also trust that in Him, we have everything that we need to go and make disciples. So, as God is our helper, let's just do it.
Prayer: Father God, how wonderful it is when people come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Help us, as Your followers, to welcome, befriend, encourage, and mentor these new little ones, that they may indeed become true and obedient disciples. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Standing On The Promises" (Lyrics)