By Steve Nelson
Who do you look up to? When I was younger and first started reading the Bible, I was in awe of “disciples.” While reading the stories about them in the Scripture, I became inspired. Simply amazing! They were around the action all the time and truly made a difference. They were like superheroes, overcoming huge obstacles and helping many people. Not ordinary. Extraordinary.
Wow, I thought. Each time Satan caused trouble, God came through and delivered these “disciples” in spectacular ways, whatever was needed. Something made these people very special. They were winners! In life! Gee, I wondered, it would be really cool to meet some of them in the future, someday, maybe when we’re all in heaven together, I guess. Maybe just shake their hands and get to talk for a few minutes. Legendary. Epic. That’s as close as I will get to a disciple, I thought…
What did disciples in the Bible do? For example…they asked questions and were given detailed spiritual insight (Matthew 13:10-11). They ultimately followed Jesus (Mark 6:1). They were reliable and could be entrusted with responsibility (Luke 19:29-35). They believed (John 2:11). They were the ones first called Christians (Acts 11:26). They had joy (Acts 13:52). They had power and even raised someone from the dead (Acts 14:20). They were strengthened by spending time with genuine ministers (Acts 18:23).
Are there disciples in the world today? After a while, in my journey of admiring the “disciples” in the Bible, something new came to my attention that blew my mind. I learned that there are actual disciples alive in the world…TODAY. What? Are you serious, I asked? Incredible! Tell me about them! How is that possible? Aren’t disciples too amazing to be in the world today? Can anyone in our generation ever rise up to that level of greatness?
Well, the heroic stuff is true. Disciples hear and understand the Word of God and take action on it. They don’t give up. When they get knocked down, they get back up with God’s help. They speak up instead of doing nothing. They hold onto the Word they learn. Their enthusiasm for the Truth doesn’t run out. They don’t allow the cares and distractions of the world to steal the Word from their hearts. That’s all great, but it seems like more unbelievable hero stuff, above my ability. But wait, there’s more.
Something else I learned about disciples that makes them human, just like the rest of us, is this: they are not perfect. Sometimes they make mistakes, sin and need forgiveness. Just like you and me. Sometimes they’re afraid (Matthew 14:26). Sometimes they forget (Mark 8:14). Sometimes they’re not strong enough to overcome evil (Luke 9:40). Sometimes it takes time to understand things (John 12:16).
Can a person become a disciple? So, after looking up to disciples in the Bible, and then learning there are disciples in the world today, I eventually met some of them. Then another really crazy thing happened. Some real life disciples told me that I too could become a disciple. Whaaaaat???? No way! Yes, it’s true and Scripture proves it. I could choose to be a committed follower of Jesus like them. It’s simply a choice. A decision. Yes, choose to be a disciple. Follow Jesus by following God’s Word. Sign me up!
Can I be a disciple at work? Yes indeed. As adults in the workplace, we often spend up to 40 hours or more per week at a job. This is one great place to shine as a light. We don’t only wear our heroic disciple outfits when we are at home or with friends at some church. Just because we may not often have the chance to discuss Scripture directly with an open Bible in the office or in the field, doesn’t mean we stop being disciples at work. Disciples are amazing workers.
When I first started becoming a loyal follower of Jesus, back in college, a fellow disciple and I had a summer job doing construction work on campus. God’s Word was burning in our hearts and we wanted to live what the Bible taught. Our attitude during each work day was this, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23). We worked as if God was our boss. Our focus was not merely trying to look good to our earthly boss. We wanted to go bigger, to super love God, just like Jesus when he worked as a carpenter.
Although we didn’t get paid more for working harder, we gave our all every single day, no matter if the manager was watching us or not. Check this out: we were new to this type of work, but just two of us disciples accomplished more work than four co-workers who had decades of experience. They often told us to stop working so hard because we were making them look bad. Ha! Our manager said he had never ever seen men work so hard. Then the magical moment came… He asked us why. So we told him. Our motivation was to serve our God. We were literally digging ditches, a lowly job in the minds of some people, but we did it as if God was our boss. That summer we changed the world.
Summary. Of nearly 8 billion people on the planet today, very few are disciples of Jesus Christ. Most people are duds. Not special. Mediocre. Not passionate about anything other than their own health and prosperity, wanting pleasure, convenience, luxury, maybe just light involvement with anything to do with God. We want more than that, don’t we?
The one we want to follow is Jesus Christ. God wants all of us to be disciples of His Son. Disciples are not merely historical characters in the Bible. Disciples are real people in the world today. And we can each become one. We don’t need to be perfect, we just need to be faithful. Start today. God bless you.
Steve Nelson has been a Bible teacher for over 25 years. This article comes from “Work: Employee or Entrepreneur” Segment 94 of “CORE,” a course for families on how to read and understand the Bible. See T4FAMILYCENTER.COM or reach Steve at [email protected].