The Benefits of Discipleship
On Wednesday I blogged about what discipleship was and how, while I’ve made some strides, I still have a ways to go. That post focused mainly one idea: discipleship costs you your life.
But while I was doing some research for that post, I came across another interesting thread of thoughts about discipleship that I very rarely hear anyone talk about. The thought is this: “There are benefits to being a disciple.” And while this is a pretty simple thought, it flies right in the face of religious thinking that causes to focus on the duty and neglect the delight of following Jesus.
So, for your reading pleasure, the following is my (probably incomplete) list on the benefits of discipleship:
- Disciples get a little bit closer to Jesus than the crowds of people (Matthew 5:1).
- Disciples get to follow Jesus where He goes. The uncommitted can’t. (Matthew 8:23).
- Disciples get to watch crazy situations that Jesus gets invited into and see what He does (Matthew 9:18-26).
- Disciples get authority from Jesus to heal the sick and cast out demons (Matthew 10:1).
- Disciples get to become like their Master (Matthew 10:25). Note, not everyone likes this.
- Disciples are defended by Jesus when accusers come and He finds no fault in them (Matthew 12:1-7).
- Disciples are invited to become Jesus’ family (Matthew 12:46-50).
- Disciples are close enough to ask questions. It’s been granted to them to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 13:10-11).
- Disciples get to combine classic truth with God’s new revelation in a way that honors the Kingdom (Matthew 13:52).
- Disciples get to see Jesus revealed in all His glory (Matthew 17:1-8).
- Disciples get Jesus’ perspective in their confusing situations (Matthew 17:14-21).
- Disciples are told the truth, even when they aren’t looking for it (Matthew 18:1-6).
- Disciples get insight into Jesus’ plan, nature, and mission that no one else gets (Matthew 20:17-19).
- Disciples get to rest and relax with Jesus (Matthew 26:20).
- Disciples get taught how to pray (Luke 11:1-13).
- Disciples get critical direction during transitional moments in history (Luke 12:1)
- Disciples get to enter into joyous praise that the rest of the created order is experiencing even now (Luke 19:39-40).
- Disciples are those who have been set free (John 8:31-32).
- Disciples are served by Jesus Himself (John 13:5). (Note: This is the biggest paradigm shift of the age. Jesus, our King washes our feet and shows us that leadership in the Kingdom is a position of service.)
- Disciples bear fruit for the Kingdom (John 15:8).
- Disciples can be continually filled with joy and the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:52).
Having looked at the list, I have to ask the question: “Why aren’t there more disciples out there?!” Now, admittedly Jesus does these things on His schedule, not ours. But for many the answer is the cost seems too high. Based on everything found here, I cannot help but follow up this list with a quote from C.S. Lewis’ book, The Weight of Glory:
If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
(P.S. This is an incomplete list generated from a word study. Feel free to add others that were missed in the comment section.)