At the end of Matthew, Jesus leaves his followers with a big task. He tells them to go and make disciples, and to teach those disciples all of the things he’s commanded (Matthew 28:16-20). Of the many things that God has given for us to do, this is one of the most clear. It is also one of the most ignored despite it’s clarity.
Perhaps it is ignored because it is one of the most difficult tasks we are asked to do, and because it is a task that may require a greater level of submission to God than other tasks do. Just consider the initial words: Go and make disciples. “Go” means that we will have to leave where we are. Whether that’s a reference to location, or to our state of being, it is a command to move. It may be a command to move from where we are spiritually, to an actual command to move from where we are geographically. There is an expectation in the command that we will not stay in the same place. The second portion of the command, “make disciples,” is much harder than the command to go.
Making disciples requires discipline on our part – maybe more discipline on our part than what is required by those to whom we are providing discipleship. It means that we have to study, serve, and get uncomfortable. But most of all it means that we have to make relationships. True discipleship requires true relationship. To make disciples is to be discontent with just going to church and sitting in a pew once per week. Pew sitting is easy, and requires little. Instead, making disciples is finding joy, meaning, purpose and passion in being the church. To be the church means that you must entangle yourself in the lives of others — especially those who have, like you, chosen to follow Jesus. It means depending on them, and having them depend on you. It means heartache, and risk, and awkwardness. And it means joy, and peace and family. It also means growth. Obviously, it means growth on the part of the person being discipled. But more importantly, it means growth for you as you broaden your knowledge, your skills, and your horizons so that you can provide that discipleship to those who need guidance on the paths you’ve already walked.
To make disciples is a clear and unambiguous command. Are you ignoring it? In what ways are you obeying it in your life?