By Teresa Sayles
Woodland Hills Church
Have you ever had one of those moments where you are simply baffled that you didn’t see or connect something before? It seems so obvious, so “duh!” that you almost laugh at yourself. I had one of those the other night.
I was sitting with some folks in a meeting, and we were talking about discipleship and what it means to teach others about Jesus. It’s not a new topic in my life, and it’s one I’ve given a good deal of thought to over the years. Still, for some reason, I had never connected the dots as I did that night. Someone in the meeting was speaking about how the first disciples went out and, as Jesus commanded, taught others about Him. Those people, then, became disciples of Jesus, too, who then went out and taught others about Him. Over and over, the pattern repeated itself. In fact, the pattern is still going on today. All over the world, disciples of Jesus go out and tell others about Him, and those people, in becoming disciples, go out and do likewise.
And that’s when it hit me. Like one of those complicated genealogy graphs you make in elementary social studies, I saw myself connected to disciples who were connected to other disciples who were connected to other disciples…going all the way back to Jesus. The Son of God. “That’s crazy!” my brain screamed. Like a giant Jesus-version of the game “7 Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” I realized I’m directly connected over two thousand centuries of history to Jesus Himself. I’m not just a person who heard about Jesus and chose to follow Him. No, I’m a direct spiritual descendent of Jesus Christ! I am part of a grand and glorious “family history” that truly does link me to some of the most amazing people and, most of all, to Jesus. Paul is more than a guy who wrote some helpful letters in the Bible. He’s someone in my family who discipled others in my family and who is still discipling me through his words. Mary the mother of Jesus is not just a nice girl who was obedient to God. She’s an incredible matriarch in my family who shows us all what it looks like to follow our Father despite unknown circumstances.
Then came a second idea that blew me away: I, in being part of this lineage of disciples, have a part to play in keeping it strong and healthy and growing. I am to “carry on the family name” by bringing others into the family and by sharing the love of my Father and King with those I encounter. And those I disciple and teach about Jesus will, in turn, do the same. They, too, will be joined in this lineage of discipleship. I really do have a vital part to play in this family!
You have the incredible opportunity to help your kids not only know God but to show them how to disciple and teach others about Him. The way you model love and forgiveness shows them a glimpse of what God is like. The care you take in teaching them right from wrong helps them navigate a relationship with God and others that draws them into the Kingdom. And the way in which you speak to others about God teaches them how to do the same.
So, my brothers and sister, let’s get out there and bring more people into this incredible family of ours, this lineage of disciples.