Disciple making is not based on 50/50 give-and-take relationships
By Jim Boesch
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
––Matthew 4:18-20 (NIV)
If we’re going to be positive influencers of men, we need to engage in transformational relationships that are more about others than they are about ourselves.
A great example of an authentic (yet not a 50/50 give-and-take) relationships is Jesus’ transformational relationships with his 12 disciples.
Jesus, the disciple-maker, initially built these spiritual-development relationships through his instruction and coaching of them to understand then commit to his earthly and their future mission, vision, and values––certainly not a 50/50 give-and-take relationship.
In the three years this group engaged in life together, there were times where sympathy, empathy, encouragement, comradery, judgment, envy, and scorn were shared between them in uneven relationship ratios.
Jesus’ servant leadership style with the 12 disciples was initially directive as he coached them to become caring for others. The disciples could witness heart changes from selfish to selfless within their own community –– behavior authentically modeled by their rabbi.
These first disciple-maker-wannabes gradually stumbled their way from being selfishly dependent on their teacher to learners whose behaviors became more independent of their teacher and each other.
Jesus enabled the 12 disciples to grow beyond dependence to being selflessly driven to support needs of others before themselves.
There may be times in our relations with others when we do most of the speaking and acting, but there should also be times when we listen and learn. Long-term kingdom-building relationships flow from selfless hearts, yet they are rarely 50/50 give-and-take experiences.
As with Jesus, we are on this earth to serve, not be served. Living for others will never be 50/50!
Jim Boesch, deployed staff member
The General Commission on UM Men