Discipleship Jesus’ Way

class8This is part 3 in my look at discipleship in the church.  See part 1 and part 2.

In 2006 ago I got the chance to do something that I had wanted to do for a while, and that was learn how to build acoustic guitars. I attended a two-week workshop at Vermont Instruments and came home with a guitar that I built with my own hands. It was led by a luthier named George Morris.

I didn’t want to go to the workshop completely unprepared, so before I went I did some research.  I found that the book that is considered the Bible of guitar-building is Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology by William R. Cumpiano and Jonathan D. Natelson.  I read all 392 pages of the book.  I also watch a DVD by Robert O’Brien, Build a Steel-String Guitar with Robert O’Brien. 

Cumpiano and O’Brien differed in some respects in how they build guitars.  The result is still a guitar, but the process getting there, and certain aspects of building, such as how they attach the neck to the body, was not the same.

When I began the workshop, I found that they both differed in some respects from how George taught us to build guitars.  I built the guitar the way George told me to. If I asked him about another method he would say, “Yeah, some guys do it that way, but that’s not how we do it here.”

He said one time there was a student who argued with him throughout the entire process. No matter how George said to do it, he wanted to do it a different way. Finally George left the shop, and after a few minutes returned with a check refunding the guy his money, and sent him on his way.

There are different ways of building a guitar, and all will get you to the end product, but George was saying, “If you’re here, you going to do it the way I teach it. If you want to do it another way, find someone who does it that way and go study under him. This is the way I do it.”

So it is with Jesus. We do it his way. If you think there’s a better way to live life in the Kingdom, go study under someone else.  But we’re disciples under Jesus; we do it his way.

There are too many people who want to live life according to their own terms, with the guarantee of eternity that Jesus offers added to it.  But when we become apprentices of Jesus, we don’t add him to our lives; Jesus becomes our life.

In Matthew 10 Jesus sends his disciples out on a mission trip to proclaim the Good News that the Kingdom of God is arriving, and in verses 24 and 25 he says a couple of things that will help us be better disciples.

In verse 24 Jesus says, “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master;”  We don’t tell the master what we want to do; we do it his way.

Jesus continue: “It is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master.”  We do it his way so that we can become like him.

That’s the goal. The apprentice aspires to be like the teacher, to do the things that the teacher does.

To me that means at least two things.  First, disciples must listen to what the master teaches.  The things that the master talks about must be the things that his disciples talk about, and in the same proportion that the master talks about them.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, disciples must actually do the things that the master tells them to do.

Any discipleship program that doesn’t teach us to do these things isn’t teaching us to be disciples of Jesus.

In my next two posts, I’ll look at each of these two things in more detail.  First, Talking the Talk.

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