(Over the next week we will be focusing on seven areas of the mission statement of Immanuel CRC)
"Immanuel Christian Reformed Church
is a multigenerational community of disciples
called by God to utilize our spiritual gifts
by growing in our knowledge of and passion for Jesus Christ,
joining in relationship with others,
and serving God in the renewal of His creation."
Disciples Called By God - We humbly walk in an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Every once in a while the kids on our court will play some version of the game "Follow the Leader." I always thought that game was great...for the person leading. Everyone else has to follow the leader and do exactly what the leader does. If the leader climbs a tree, everyone else climbs the tree too. If the leader spins in a circle, everyone else spins in a circle too. The possibilities are only limited by where the leader wants to go. After that everything else is just following.
We have a lot of stories about Jesus and his disciples. Being a disciple of Jesus meant following him everywhere. Listening to him teach, walking with him through the country side, visiting the houses he visited, seeing and even participating in the miracles he performed. The disciples followed Jesus in everything that he did while he taught on this earth.
Have you ever thought about the things that aren't recorded in the Bible that the disciples must have saw or participated in as disciples? The mundane walks, the sleepless nights, the confusing stories, the loud dinner parties, that time Peter stepped in...mud...
Being a disciple of Christ means following him everywhere. Everywhere includes a lot. Actually, it includes everything. Being a disciple of Jesus means following him at church, at home, at work, at school, at the mall, on the road, at the gym, while traveling, and everywhere else you may find yourself or think of finding yourself at any time...ever.
And not just following but not paying attention. Being a disciple means following intently. Always wondering what the master is up to. Always listening for the next teaching. Never wanting to miss a single thing. Being open to the close, personal, and deep conversations.
Being a disciple isn't always easy by our standards. It takes intentionality and a willingness to step out on a ledge away from the comfortable at times (or all the time perhaps). There are lots of things that hold us back from discipleship. Fears, worries, other things we are committed to, lack of time, laziness... But in the end it is hard for us to escape that calling. We are called to be disciples of Christ, called by God to follow without question. This may mean sacrifice and hardship. It may mean putting other things that we have always held dearly down a few notches.
For me, being a disciple of Christ, called by God, means actively listening for God's will and striving to follow it all the time. I don't always get that right. But being a disciple means picking up and following again tomorrow none the less.
What does it mean for you to be a disciple of Christ, called by God?