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Making beds vs. Making disciples

Picture of Greg Stier
Greg Stier

Learning how to make one’s bed is one of the first micro-chores that kids learn. It helps children begin to discover the importace of being tidy and organized. And, as a daddy, its one of those easy-to-do duties that my wife and I have bestowed on our 8 year old son Jeremy.

Let’s say I told him, “Jeremy I am going to go pick up some milk at the store. I am giving you one job to do while I’m gone, to make your bed. Do you understand?” He responds by saying, “Yes daddy! I understand.” So, knowing my boy grasps his sole duty, I’m off to the store.

Imagine that when I returned from the store I asked him, “So Jeremy did you make your bed?” Let’s say his response was, “Daddy, I painted this pretty picture for you!” I pick up the picture and say, “Nice picture, but did you make your bed?” Scrambling Jeremy takes me to another room where he shows me how he helped arrange all of his toys. I, once again, affirm his efforts but keep pressing, “Did you make your bed?” Finally Jeremy bows his head, knowing he’s in trouble and quietly answers, “No, daddy. I didn’t make my bed.”

Busted. You can be sure that consequences would follow.

Okay, let’s flashback to a non-hypothetical scenario. Jesus told his disciples something like this two thousand years ago after His resurrection, “I’m going to leave and come back. While I’m gone I want you to make disciples.” Soon after He told them this He ascended into heaven while His discples were watching Him disappear into the clouds. Two angels suddenly appeared and chided them, “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Ten days later they got to work (had to get baptized by the Spirit first) and they died trying to obey the directive of Christ, to make disciples of all nations. Didn’t quite get ‘er done, but the “chore” has been handed down through the centuries to every believer.

It’s our turn now. We are just as called to make disciples as the apostles were. And when our Savior comes back home from the “store” He’s going to ask us what we’ve been up to.

For many of us our answer will be, “Well, Lord, we’ve built a lot of buildings with sanctuaries that are plush and roomy. These giant sanctuaries can hold lots of people.” Maybe He will respond by asking, “So lots of disciples have been made then?” Awkward silence followed by, “Not quite, our church is full of other Christians who enjoy our preacher, music program and children’s ministry better than the church that they were going to before.”

I can imagine Jesus saying, “But did you make disciples?” and us studdering out a, “Well, we went to a lot of meetings. We went to prayer meetings, accountability meetings, Sunday school, small group and elder’s meetings. We had men’s fellowship and women’s afterglows. We filled our calendars with meetings at, about or around church.”

Jesus asks, “And what did you do at all of these meetings?” We respond, “We talked about making disciples.”

We are not commanded to sit in a meeting and talk about making disciples. We are called to make disciples.

We are not commanded to fill in the blanks of a sermon outline. We are called to make disciples.

We are not commanded to parse the Greek of our favorite verse in the New Testament. We are called to make disciples.

We are not called to build a house for a poor family in Mexico. We are called to make disciples.

Of course, we may fill, sit, parse and build as we make disciples. But making the disicples is the first and final goal of what Jesus told us to do. If we miss that we miss the whole point and disobey His last and lasting command.

Maybe that’s why I love the words of Charles Spurgeon to the young preacher boys he trained, “Brethren, do something; do something, do something! While societies and unions make constitutions, let us win souls….Our one aim is to win souls; and this we are not to talk about, but do in the power of God!” Over a centruy ago, Spurgeon knew that the tendency of those in ministry was to do more talking than rocking when it came to THE Cause that Jesus left for us to accomplish.

Making your bed takes a few minutes. Making disciples takes a lifetime. Making your bed takes a small commitment. Making disciples takes full surrender. Making your bed results in a fleeting feeling of satisfaction. Making disciples makes a difference for eternity.

On second thought Jeremy, forget the bed and make disciples. Let’s just pray your mommy doesn’t read this post.

Unlikely Fighter

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