In the Great Commission, Jesus commanded His disciples (including us) as we are going to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). That statement tells us that there are people to disciple all over the world who need a life-changing relationship with Jesus. But in my experience, too often we look without seeing. Allow me to explain.
Pray for People to Disciple
Earlier in Jesus’ ministry, looking at the crowds with all their needs, Jesus felt compassion for them “because they were distressed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36, CSB). In that context, Jesus said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.”
Was Jesus simply talking about an agricultural need? Of course not. These people needed disciplers to help them to see the hope that God had provided in Jesus. Jesus was telling the disciples in His day (and us today) of the need for more disciplers to provide the hope and care sheep need. But the key is seeing needs around us and praying to the Lord of the harvest.
But you say, wait a minute. You are talking about disciplers, and I want to know about disciples. What if today’s potential disciples are tomorrow’s disciplers? We start by praying for God to help us to see those with needs. And then we look for opportunities to provide help and hope, especially through Jesus. Are you praying?
Open Your Eyes
When we pray asking the Lord to send workers (disciples who will become disciplers), we must believe that He will send them. And that means we naturally act out of our confidence that He has sent them or will send them. We begin to look around to see who He has sent. We observe what people are saying and doing. We notice needs and step into teachable moments.
Sometimes we have blinders on and miss key clues. Sometimes the person needing to be discipled may be our child or teenager. It could be a neighbor, coworker, or friend. It may be a server at a restaurant or someone along life’s path. When we pray and open our eyes, we begin to see opportunities to disciple that we missed previously. You have prayed. Have you opened your eyes with confidence that He is sending people to disciple?
Needs do not have to be complicated, but they may be messy. Conversation may start with a coworker who complains about her teenager or an aunt who has cancer. It could be a child is struggling to make friends at school, a neighbor going through a painful divorce, or a young adult searching for purpose. How can you offer help and hope through Jesus? How can you lead them to faith in and obedience to Jesus?
When you pray, open your eyes, and recognize needs, you will see disciples all around you. The challenge may be choosing where to start. Will you pause to take these three steps this week? Make disciples!
Photo by Chase Clark on Unsplash