Discipleship is heart work

Dirck Van Baburen

Jesus, kneeling down in the dusty floor, mingling his hands with toes, dirt and smell, lovingly touching and firmly wiping the feet of His beloved friends, amidst stench, noise and eating, laughing, living. Reaching their hearts, souls and minds with the depth of the call of the kingdom was an embracing of the reality of daily life amongst full-blooded, crusty, men, hungry to fulfill a life's purpose that captivated their deepest longings to see that their lives mattered..

Jesus didn't just talk about having a ministry from a broad, tall pulpit with a resounding microphone, while disappearing between sermons. He lived a deeply personal life with words and instruction as well as integrity and generous love demonstrated in each moment of every day and he served and bowed his knee to meet the needs and desires of those He loved.  He taught compassion, and then he demonstrated it by healing the sick, touching those with leprocy, drinking water with the prostitute, holding and caressing children, feeding those who were hungry.

Each of us longs to be a part of a great cause, an epoch story and each of us longs to belong in the hearts of someone in the world who cares for us. We can exist within the mundane moments of motherhood or marriage or work longer if we know and understand that somehow it is meaningful to our over-arching life story and heritage, a history that we are passing on, when we daily stoop to serve, and patiently give of our energy to meet the needs of others.

But we long to know our lives can make a real difference, that our being alive and making right choices isn't just about duty, but about a heart-gripping reality that will make a purposeful impact in the lives of others- and to know that someone cares about our life sacrifices and investment of our time.

We need to recognize these same needs in the heart of our children. "Our children's hearts long ot be a part of a great cause. Training our children for ministry needs to be at the center of everything we are attempting to do with our lives. Serving God and loving Him is not about knowing all of the right rules and keeping them; it is about cultivating compassion in the hearts of our children for a lost world and showing them how they can be a part of His great plans for them to reach their world in their lifetime." The Mom Walk

Jesus called his disciples away from tasks to make an imprint on history, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men!" "Go into the world and make disciples." "These uneducated men have turned the world upside down."

Paul and Peter were willing and joyfully sacrificed their lives because they knew, they deeply understood, they were a part of the movement of the Spirit of God to redeem the world for their creator, they were kingdom laborers. The passion in their heart gave them the power to serve. Service without heart kills the soul.

And so, when we seek to disciple our children, it is cultivating in them a vision for their importance to Christ's work, a hope that they are needed to fulfill a kingdom cause--with their unique personality and skills, and then giving them practice in serving others as they grow up in our homes, which are the center of ministry. It is about them watching us serve and being caught up in the beauty of our loving, giving to, serving and inspiring others from the integrity and compassion of our own hearts and lives, that their hearts will be captured.

Hearing about ministry, seeing ministry taking place and giving them a place to serve and be needed is the process of captivating their hearts with a passion that will last them their whole lives is the process of shaping them into life-long disciples of Jesus.  Discipleship is not about indoctrination, discipleship is heart work.