At our recent church retreat, our speaker Dr Ho Chiao Ek told us that discipleship is about people, not programmes. We were reminded that we are called to follow Jesus, to imitate him, and grow to become like him because we are now identified with him as a child of God (1 John 3:1-3). Part of this following of Jesus is helping others to follow him because that is what it means to be a part of Christ’s Body, the church. Each of us are to take care, not just of our own walk, but also each other’s walk, exhorting each other to follow and not turn away to sin (Heb. 3:12-14), so that all may be presented to Christ as fully mature in Christ (Col. 1:28).
That means ALL of us are responsible for discipling each other. We can’t say that this responsibility belongs only to the pastors and elders – all of us are responsible. And we can’t say that we have to wait for them to do something before we know what to do. After all, the best example is already shown to us in the Bible – Jesus taught his disciples through extended time and conversations with them. That means ALL of us are without excuse. If we are true disciples of Jesus, then we will be seeking to follow Him, and we will be seeking to help others follow Him. Often we focus only on our own following of Jesus, and we neglect helping others to follow Jesus, yet that is what necessarily follows when we follow Jesus fully. That means our discipleship is half-hearted at best. That means that when we follow Jesus, we set an unspoken limit and said to ourselves: “this far and no further, this is all that I am willing to give Jesus.” But half-hearted discipleship is not what we are called to. We are called to whole-hearted discipleship. And whole-hearted discipleship means that we bring people along, we encourage each other wherever we are. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been a Christian, or how old you are. Even the youngest and most recent Christian can encourage others and help to disciple others. It doesn’t matter what differences you have with others, whether a huge age gap, or very different callings, or any difference you can think of, because we have been made one in Christ. Whole-hearted discipleship means following Jesus, and because we are following Jesus, reaching out to others who are following Jesus and helping each other in this same journey we are all on. May God help us all become whole-hearted disciples, following Jesus as his disciples, and discipling others to follow Jesus.