When Jesus called the twelve original Disciples what did He invite them to? Lately I have been mulling over just what all that entailed in terms of commitment and expectation. The textbook answer occurs in the Gospels and is redundant in the offering, “Come and follow me and I will teach you to be fishers of men.”
And Jesus did not disappoint. He did precisely that in terms of teaching, training, and equipping these Disciples to be the words, hands, and feet of Christ to a world of hurting and disengaged people who were looking for an answer to their hungering that would satisfy and stay. So, in considering this my mind is gravitating towards a more integrative question as it pertains to our day and answering our call to be disciples of Jesus. Is the experience to which Christ called the Twelve the same experience that Christ also calls us to in this day?
For if it is the same call, it is most interesting for us to consider the dynamics of the Twelve following Jesus. He did not invite them to consume all that God provided in terms of grace, provision, eternity, assurance, etc. only as end users, but rather Christ invited them to make the great investment of their lives in God’s Kingdom Work which would eventually cost them everything. Sobering is the reality that Bonhoeffer was on point when he observed, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” – The Cost of Discipleship.
So how do we win in a scenario that we must invest all to authentically answer the call? How do we prosper in knowing that what we are answering is the ultimate call to self-sacrifice in surrender to God’s will and purpose? We win because we get God’s all which is infinitely better than our best. And we get God’s all in loving relationship that is guaranteed by the cross both in this life and the next. And so the church has an extremely important role to play in helping all who are looking for an answer that satisfies and stays by continuing to frame and articulate this scriptural call to discipleship, and by training, equipping, and deploying people who begin with the utmost consumer mentality to understand that the real win is in the surrender and sacrifice. When Christ calls a woman or a man and she/he answers the call with the investment of her/his very life then we understand and partake in the Kingdom of God that Jesus offered those Twelve. What a privilege and a blessing to answer God’s call as a disciple of Jesus! And in doing so we not only win, we become more than conquerors through Him who has loved us!