Disciple makers will agree with me that sometimes it is possible to walk with someone for years without seeing tangible results that one expected. Where the disciple maker does everything right yet the desired results don’t show when expected. And that in such cases it is easy to give up. When the people you hoped to see obey Jesus go back to the same things and sins that you have toiled to get them out of. What do you do when your trusted disciple gets deep into drugs, when that young lady in your inner circle falls pregnant. When you receive disturbing reports about a trusted disciple. Yet you have done your best and have remained faithful in all standards. It is heartbreaking and disappointing.
Jesus Who is our model in discipleship had these similar experience. He walked with His disciples for a long time. He poured His life into them, shared heavenly experiences with them, shared with them heavenly plans and patterns. He was determined to see them become more like Him and even do more than He did. Jesus was careful not to admit anyone into His team. He had faith in the twelve that He had chosen. Peter denied Him, he did so several times. He was part of Jesus’ inner circle. Yet, he openly said that he doesn’t know Jesus. Imagine pouring your life into someone for years only for them to turn against you. In John 21: 2-3 we read that after Jesus ascended to heaven, Peter convinced the other disciples to go back to fishing. And indeed they went but for a whole night caught nothing.
I wonder how Jesus felt when He saw the disciples who were supposed to take the gospel to the ends of the earth go back to fishing for fish instead of fishing for men. How He felt that one of his twelve trusted men was conspiring with the enemy to have Him crucified. Some can argue that it had to be so, that one of His disciples had to betray Him. But it didn’t have to be Judas. It could have been any other disciple and not necessarily Judas. It is a fact that a disciple betrayed Jesus and that a disciple of Jesus committed suicide. Judas’ case was extreme but it can happen to any disciple maker today for it happened to Jesus.
About a year ago, I was intentionally reaching to this Muslim brother. We would have deep religious conversations that would run into late nights. I was determined to share the gospel with him. After sometime, I learnt he was comparing everything I was discussing with him with his uncle. His uncle was a sheikh and served in the nearby mosque. It was a scary season for me because in that same season, a stranger in the village told me straight into my eyes that he knew who I was and what I was up to. It was tense and I didn’t know what to do. I thought to myself that my cover had been blown up and I was at a high risk. In the end I understood that my disciple meant no harm and had not exposed me. He was questioning his religion and was after answers from the religious scholars. In the same season when I thought that everything had cooled down, I received several death threats. I was living in fear but God watch over my life and no one harmed me.
Disciple making especially among the unreached is risky. It is troubling to be a missionary among an unreached area but living with fear and uncertainty. I have heard of missions’ work being infiltrated by spies. I seriously pray for other missionaries who work in an environment similar to mine. Those who forsake all to be away in foreign territories expanding the kingdom of God. Those living as sheep among the wolves. So whose fault it is when such cases occur or reoccur? Well, disciple makers should expect such cases. A retaliation of the enemy for every kingdom advancement is characterized by resistance.
Learning from the Master Himself, disciple makers must continue serving with wisdom. Wisdom is knowing when to pull out and when to soldier on. The Body of Christ must also back them up with prayers. To encourage such warriors to keep the fight going on. Their reward in Christ is great.
****Peter Kale (not his real name) is a missionary serving among an unreached people group in Northeastern Kenya
3 replies added
Encouraging.mission work is risky but our Lord Jesus is greater than the risk.
Firstly thank you for sharing this inspirational words.
I believe this journey of discipleship is not easy and by accepting this we will not be shocked by some incidents we might encounter.
So we need to be ready
Enlightening read. Wisdom is knowing when to pull out and when to soldier on.
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