Sister Lisa presented a lesson this week entitled “Giving Prayer Legs,” or put more prosaically it was about taking your spiritual and prayer life and making a real difference in the here and now.
She drew her initial text from Matthew’s version of the great commission,
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 26:18-20).’”
Jesus’ followers were to go into world, not with the sole goal of making converts, but true fellow-followers – disciples. It can be noted as well that the passage can be read that we are to make disciples “as we go.” It is an action we can take part in in any walk of life, using the skills, talents, and gifts that God has entrusted each of us with. I like Lisa’s point that as parents we have influence over our children, as teachers – our students, as co-workers – by our examples.
This she cross referenced this with 2 Corinthians 5 in which we are not only common messengers of God’s word, but ambassadors,
“For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!(vs 19-20).”
“As we go,” we are the embodiment of people’s view of God. If we are inconsistent or hypocritical it is noticed. Similarly, however, if we put on the modestly and humility of Christ, this too will be noticed.
Some of our actions can be very low key indeed. We may have the “more humble” gifts, but used properly they can have a great impact to God’s Kingdom. Lisa shared the story of Mr. Eternity. This semi-literate Australian man felt called to god by a sermon on “Eternity.” He felt compelled to share this word with the people of Sydney, and spent over two decades writing it in beautiful script across the city. Lisa queried the impact of this on those who discovered it. Was this in part the preparing of the fields for some of the great revival work in that city since?
This reflection made me ponder the parable of the sower,
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown (Matthew 13:3b-8).”
When the disciples asked the meaning of the story Jesus explained,
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: when anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown (Matthew 13: 18-23).”
As noted above each of us has been given different gifts. It is up to us to “give these legs.” To link these two ideas let us consider the sower’s seed. For some of us we may well be the broadcasters (sowers) of the seed. To others, however, God may well have entrusted us with sweeping the paths or scaring the birds (encouragement of others), for some it may well to be removes of rocks and tillers of soil (those who labour with good example and soften hearts with our good deeds), to yet others there is the task of clearing the weeds (teaching and supporting others in overcoming the attractions of the world). And to those who have been this supported and prepared, to “pay it forward,” and in our turn go and make disciples.