My kids help me cook. Clean. Fix. Load the dishwasher. Put away clothes.
And it’s more work for me. It takes longer, is more frustrating, isn’t done as well, and will oftentimes end up in a sibling arguement. It would be much easier for me to just do the chore myself. It would be done more effectively and efficiently. But I let them engage in these tasks among thousands others. Why?
Because I love them. And I see who they will become. My kids aren’t going to be any help around the house when they grow up, and won’t be productive people as adults, if I don’t give them opportunities like this. If I always treat them like kids, they’ll always act like kids.
As a parent, I’m not raising children. I’m raising adults. In other words, I keep their end in mind.
Does this sometimes burn me? Yep. Sometimes, things break. Sometimes, it takes so long that I don’t get done what I needed to for the day. Sometimes, the house isn’t fully clean by the time people come over. Sometimes, the the project we were working on ends up in a couple of extra trips to the hardware store.
I’m praying that the work I’m putting in now will pay dividends as they grow up.
Just like discipleship
When you disciple someone, you see who they will become, not simply who they are now. And you help them take steps towards who they can become.
dis·ci·ple (verb) , /dəˈsīpəl/ – to invest yourself in someone else to help them become all God created them to be.
If you want to help someone grow spiritually, you’ve got to give them responsibility beyond what they’ve “earned.” To challenge someone means that you push them beyond what they’re comfortable with. You give them opportunities to grow, not opportunities to stay exactly where they are. In the gym, if you lift the exact same weights every day, you won’t get much stronger. But if you lift heavier weights, your muscles grow.
“Love…hopes all things” – Paul, 1 Corinthians 13:7
I’m so thankful that people have done this for me. That’s what’s helped me grow up. If I were only given rookie level opportunities when I was a rookie in ministry, I would’ve stagnated as a rookie. But I was given responsibility and authority beyond my level, and was given the chance to grow up.
Sometimes, it “worked,” and I succeeded. Many times, it didn’t, and I fell flat on my face. I found myself running tucked tail back to my boss (or mentor) saying, “HELP ME!” (and to be honest, I’ve grown more through my failures than my successes) Other people could’ve done those tasks much better than I: quicker, more effectively, with better results and with less mess. But they wanted to see me grow more than they wanted a task to be completed.
And isn’t that the zone where significant growth happens, in an environment where risk is taken, but failure is safe and protected?
Could taking a risk on people burn you? Yep. Both in the now and in the future. Maybe you’ll be criticized for what they did. Maybe you’ll be criticized for giving them responsibility too early. Maybe you’ll be criticized for spending time with THEM. (if Jesus was, so will you)
But that’s what their faith needs to grow. Muscles don’t get stronger unless you use them. You see who the one you’re discipling will be, and you’re constantly pointing and repointing them that way.
SMALL GROUP PASTORS: Don’t expect a new group leader to act like a veteran. But don’t ever expect them to become a veteran if you don’t give them the chance.
Jesus chose people that “the church” had rejected. People that had been passed over. It was THOSE men that Jesus chose AND DEVELOPED. He spent time with these guys, so much so that others criticized him for it.
The Church needs you to disciple. We need you to pour yourself into others, and give them opportunities that they haven’t earned. We need you to replicate yourself, growing people in their faith. Not so that they become clones of you, but so that they ultimately become fully formed followers of Jesus.
When was the last time you gave someone an opportunity they hadn’t earned?