Deposits and Investments
The things which you have heard from me... entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Isn't it interesting that Jesus Christ never said to make disciples by taking them to church—or to a Bible study group, for that matter. Not that these activities aren't an integral part of a disciple's growth, but the Lord has something much more personal in mind.
My life was personally impacted in such a way by a college professor. He had taught my father thirty-five years before I was enrolled in his class at the Bible college. For my entire college career, Dr. Fred Afman called me by my father's name. I never bothered to tell him my name wasn't Keith!
There were times I'd read something in Scripture that confused me or hear a preacher say something in Chapel that troubled me, and I would go to this older gentleman's office for advice. He'd answer his door, smile, and say, "Well, hello there, Keith; come on in and have a seat." There in his office he would answer my questions, or even correct what I'd heard in Chapel, from Scripture.
This same life-on-life investment continued in seminary. I often went to Dr. Eugene Petersen's office, where he would answer my many questions about ministry, pastoring, and preaching. With patience and care he addressed my thoughts and corrected any misconceptions. His personal investment fanned my desire for pastoring and preaching the Word of God; it grew into a steady flame.
I will forever be indebted to these two men. They modeled our verse for today as they modeled life-on-life mentoring.
That word entrust was a first-century banking term that literally meant "to make a deposit." Paul is saying in our text, "You have learned things from me, Timothy; now I want you to take that truth and personally deposit it into the lives of other disciples."
When you teach a child something about Christ, you are making a deposit into his heart; when you share Scripture or prayer with another believer, you are making a life-on-life deposit that Christ would define as true discipleship.
Frankly, my writing at this very moment reflects what I've had modeled and taught to me by others. That's what discipleship is: taking what Jesus Christ taught us and depositing it into the lives of other believers.
There are three components that define true discipleship. The first is touch. You can't disciple at a distance. The only way iron can sharpen iron is through personal connection. This is the touch that invests when others withdraw; it perseveres when others disappear.
Second, you must make the commitment of time. You won't be able to reproduce your life and passion for Christ in a day. You didn't grow overnight—we humans aren't like Jack's beanstalk! We're more like apple trees that need a lot of time to grow before fruit begins to appear.
The third component is truth: the truth of God's Word. This keeps the discipleship process on track, rather than one opinion contradicting another. Without truth, discipleship of any kind—coaching a team, tutoring a student, teaching an instrument—will not have permanence. The center of spiritual discipleship is the truth of Scripture.
The goal is more than information... it's transformation.
If you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, you have all three of these qualities at your disposal.
Is there someone in your life in need of a deposit—an investment that will last for eternity? Then act... begin a life-on-life influence, no matter how small or simple. Offer a personal touch, an investment of your time, and the principles of God's truth.
That kind of investment will reproduce fruit well beyond your lifetime. In light of eternity, make a deposit into someone's life... today!
Prayer Point: Ask the Lord to show you one person with whom you can start rubbing shoulders today. Perhaps you need to ask Him to help you find someone to disciple you. Ask Him to give you the humility and confidence you need to be involved in "life rubbing against life" as you grow more into the likeness of Jesus.
Extra Refreshment: John 1:35-42 and notice the investment made by Andrew. Who knew his influence would produce such abundant fruit?!
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