Discipleship is not a place; it’s a pace.
This is a message for Christians, like myself, who can feel that ‘discipleship’ is a term that’s distant from our hearts, excused by the years of service under our belt.
What I’ve been learning is that there is no age a Christian can be which precludes us from paying attention to the quality of our discipleship. For discipleship is not equivalent to the amount of Christian experience we’ve had, to Bible knowledge we’ve accumulated, to deeds done, to church services attended, or to even years being a Christian.
Discipleship is all about our orientation towards the living person Jesus today.
“Come follow me”-that glorious and daunting invitation Jesus gives to all Christians is an unending one. And its success is only measured by how close we are to where Jesus is currently today.
If he is moving somewhere today, how close are we to what he is doing and what he is saying? That is the question and the message of discipleship.
This is a message to guard against being religiously obese. And I feel like most of Jesus’ parables are geared towards this fattened state–being full of knowledge, having religious social capital, and having lots of religious experiences, yet being too slow to move flexibly to where he is wanting to lead us.
The new Christian running hard after God is actually closer to the true heart of discipleship than the 20-year Christian who sits in a pew week after week, unchanged, unmoved, and fettered to their own ways.
The only ones that make it in Jesus’ books are the five wise virgins and the faithful servants (Matthew 25). They are those who keep their lamps burning and are ready at all times. Their oil is untransferrable, for they cannot pass on the pace at which they follow Jesus to any brother or sister. Knowledge is transferrable, but pace never is.
Discipleship is not a place. And we have never arrived.
May God move us all to run ever harder after him, the only one worthy of such a perpetual pursuit.