The Joy of Discipleship by Marie Drakulic

“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . . .”

~Matthew 28:18-19a (emphasis mine)

            Something miraculous happened at my house this weekend.  The Latte Ladies, our church’s women ministry, met at my house for breakfast and Bible study.  You may think this sounds mundane, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  You see, in between bites of pancake and sips of coffee, discipleship was happening.

In the little over a year since we began our ladies’ Bible study, I have come to love these women as my own family.  They have been a blessing to me in so many ways—helping, praying, encouraging, laughing, relating, fellowshipping, sharing . . . the list goes on.  Yet, possibly my favorite thing about this group of women is their willingness to be so brutally honest.  They aren’t afraid to ask the tough questions, and they are truly seeking the answers.  I often think of Phillip when he asked in Acts 8:30, “Do you understanding what you are reading?”  Only, I feel so helpless sometimes to answer their questions.  Sometimes, I have to honestly have to say, “I don’t know.”  They challenge me to dig deeper into God’s word and seek His face.  Their burdens have become my burdens, and these wonderful women are constantly on my heart.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:5).  Although the Latte Ladies aren’t my children, I feel abundant joy in seeing them grow in grace.  Just thinking about them and how they have grown brings a smile to my face.  Nothing makes me happier than to see them experience Christ in a very real and personal way!  I think of the grieving mother who is beginning to heal.  I think of one who has served in the church for many years and is now seeing Christ move in new ways in her life.   I think of a hurting mother who is learning to love her kids again.  It doesn’t stop there.  The light God is shining in these women’s lives is coming into their homes.  God is using them to reach their families for His glory.  So I rejoice in hearing that an unbelieving husband took his kids to church for the first time!  I give praise to the Lord for the husband who has been saved and is now following in believer’s baptism!   What amazing joy I have in seeing a stony heart become softened by the gospel—the gospel that is being lived in her life!

What a privilege it is to be a part of something so incredible!  I am humbled in knowing that God chose me to lead them, to disciple them.  At times, I feel inadequate.  After all, I am far from perfect and my family has its own mess of problems.  How could I possible help another when sometimes I don’t know how to help myself?  I find hope and encouragement from Jesus’ words in the book of Luke, “What is impossible with man is possible with God” (18:27).  By becoming a vessel for God to use, He can work through me to do works greater than I.  Last Saturday, that is exactly what He did.  The Potter took this scarred, broken pot and used it for His glory.  As I sat at the table with tears streaming down my face, I looked at each of the women and my heart was crushed with love for them.  After a night of battling my own demons and fruitlessly arguing with God, He was bringing me my own healing.  We didn’t end that day knowing the answers to our hardest questions, but I believe we grew one step closer to knowing the character of God, to grasping at His awesomeness.

As our time drew to a close that day, I challenged the ladies (myself included) to “be Jesus with skin on.”  It is the same challenge I present to you today.  Someone you know (or will soon meet) needs to see Jesus in your life.  There may be a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or a person in your church that is hurting and searching for some answers.  Don’t expect to have the all the answers, but God can still and wants to use YOU in their life.  He is calling you to surrender your will to His purposes.  Sometimes He will call you to pray at an altar with someone or share God’s word with them, and other times God will call you to humbly serve them or to meet a need in their life.  When you allow Him to take the brokenness of your own life into His capable hands, He can do something far greater than you can imagine!  Discipleship is a beautiful thing!  Christ set the example for us.  He surrendered His rightful place on a heavenly throne and knelt before a fallen creation to serve and to save. God calls each of His followers to “go and make disciples.”  No one is exempt from this calling.  If you have been mercifully and wonderfully saved by the grace of Jesus than there is someone you can serve through discipleship.  God can bring a miracle to your home, too!

“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from the supper.  He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist.  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet . . .”

~John 13:3-5a