Who will come next is part of the “calculation” of many things. Psalm 78:4 speaks of telling the next generation about God. Proverbs 13:22 tells of leaving an inheritance for grandchildren. In 1 Timothy 1:2, Paul tells Timothy that he (Timothy) is his (Paul’s) true child in the faith.
The last chapter of Deuteronomy reminds Moses (and the Israelites) that God did marvelous things from the beginning (before the Israelites became the Israelites), and that the next step is coming. It also reminds us that while God worked miracles through Moses, there was a consequence for certain behaviors, even though their relationship seems not to have otherwise changed.
The person to follow Moses (the “next”) was Joshua. While Joshua is often raised up almost to Moses’ level, Joshua missed the biggest lesson that Moses taught him, the next. This, of course, is inferred from the lack of Scriptural mention of a successor to Joshua, and the Scriptural mention that everyone forgets with the next generation. The next is really a form of individualized, focused, mentoring, and discipleship. Part of the whole process is further illustrated by Jesus. When we realize that all we have for him covers 3 years of his ministry (yes, plus a few childhood vignettes), he really did spend most of his time with the 12 that would train them to walk in his ways and footsteps. It is these words that we should pay particular attention to, as these were the words that struck his disciples as important.
This is deeply illustrated by John 16:4. He flat out tells them that he didn’t tell them everything in the beginning. It may well have taken years to get the ground (the disciples) ready for the entirety of Jesus’ message. It was revolutionary, after all.
We live in a world that wants everything now. We may not be looking for instantaneous, but certainly quickly. In comparison, the early church would usually wait 3 YEARS to baptize a convert (this is after Paul). Yes, there was probably some filtering out of bad apples. There was also theology that was deeply placed on hearts.
Our baptize them now thought process—and this is only one of many such things in general, not just Christianity—would not be able to withstand waiting. Truly, not only would the person being baptized likely not have the patience, but many of the leaders, elders, pastors don’t either.
Perhaps being more like Jesus means leading 12 others for 3 years to a deeper with Christ.
- What do you think makes a discipling relationship?
- Why might mentoring be different than discipline?
- Who is discipling you?
- Who are you discipling?
Lord, help us find those who will disciple us, and help us find others to disciple. For we know that we must be purposeful in both to bring your kingdom here on earth. Amen.