Guest Post: David Wiley
He was a handsome boy, but overall he was no one to take note of. In fact, a meager future was as hope-filled a future as he could expect. He was learning to be a shepherd in a small village. He both slept with and smelled like the sheep he tended. As he matured, his talent and passion for music gave him a glimmer of hope that one day he might become someone of import. However, his optimistic outlook waned when he was betrayed by friends and forced to run for his life. He found his only refuge living alone in caves. Perhaps he wore for weeks the only clothes he owned. Certainly, to those who crossed his path he must have appeared destitute, if not mad. Yet, in the crucible of trials, God fashioned a disciple. And God would use this disciple right where he was, in the caves. (1 Sam. 22:1-2)
What defines a disciple? Does a disciple wear a suit and tie, or tennis shoes and jeans? Do disciples meet in a church or at a homeless shelter? Does a disciple possess the freedom to go anywhere or is he confined to a prison cell?
Maybe your perception of a disciple is marred by your culture. Or, perhaps, your understanding of discipleship has been wrongly influenced by the manner in which you were raised, or even by those with whom you worship. Jesus gave a restriction to being a disciple, and it was not related to clothing, appearance, property, or physical location: “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Lk. 14:27 [ESV]).
Jesus commanded his disciples to deny everything—possessions, future plans, family, even life itself—to follow Him. To identify a disciple by the way he or she looks, lives, or what he or she has accomplished in life (or of what one has been convicted) is to miss the point entirely.
Most people have heard of King David in the Bible, perhaps the greatest human sovereign to have ever reigned. But long before the palace and robes, long before the throne and riches, he was a poor shepherd boy being discipled by God in a cave. Most of us have heard of the king, but I am certain that few know the disciple-maker. It was among the sheep and within the caves that David solidified his devotion through countless Psalms.
What is stopping you from making disciples?
Do you feel that you don’t look the part?
Do you feel that you don’t have a proper place to participate in discipleship?
Do you fear that no one will take you seriously?
Remember: even a fugitive, living beneath the earth, discovered the privilege of caring for and discipling many individuals, all of whom were led to him by God.
David Wiley is the Director of Community Outreach for Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN, and founder of Mission 12|24. To know more about the ministry of David Wiley and Mission12|24, visit one or more of the following: Web: Mission1224.org, Twitter: @DaveUprising, Facebook: /Mission1224