Last weekend, Jason made this cute little coffee table for our church. (Isn’t he so handy? I just love him.)
We have plans to make a taller, larger version of this table for our kitchen, and if we love it, he might try to make a couple extra and sell them on the side. Last night at dinner, he joked that if he just sold one table a month, he could probably bring in more than I make at the library. I pretended to be insulted that he was dissing my “career,” but he’s right.
My job at the library is not a full-time gig. It doesn’t consume my life. It doesn’t take up much of my time. It’s something I do because I enjoy it and because it gets me out of the house and around people a couple mornings a week. It’s a hobby.
But this morning, as I was driving to that awesome place where they pay me to spend several hours surrounded by books, it occurred to me that I approach disciple-making the same way.
I’ve been reading in Acts, and thinking about the lengths Paul and the other apostles went to so that others would know the good news of the salvation Jesus offers us, and the tireless way they worked to raise up new believers to spiritual maturity. They devoted themselves to the ministry of the gospel. They were not afraid of persecution. They welcomed it, because they knew it meant they were truly following in the way of Jesus, who said, “If anyone would follow me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
I tend to take this figuratively, and apply “taking up my cross” to anything that I might consider a burden. Reading my Bible when I don’t feel like it. Getting the kids ready by myself on Sunday morning because Jason is already at church. Being kind to someone who is rude to me.
But truthfully? Those aren’t crosses. They are inconveniences at worst, and spiritual disciplines at best.
Truthfully? Those things don’t hurt me like the cross hurt Jesus. They don’t weigh me down and make me stumble then pin me wide open and vulnerable and take away my very breath.
Truthfully? I’m opening my eyes wide to the fact that I don’t follow as closely after Jesus as I had thought.
Truthfully? Making disciples doesn’t consume my life the way I believe it should.
I’m trying to figure out how to change that in this church-saturated, yet still unbelieving culture in which we live. I want to live radically, courageously, and recklessly for the kingdom of God the way the apostles did.
I want to be able to share the sentiments of the apostle Andrew, who as he faced his own crucifixion as a martyr for the cause of Christ, is traditionally believed to have said “O cross, most welcome and long looked for! with a willing mind, joyfully and desirously, I come to thee, being the scholar of HIm which did hang on thee: because I have always been thy lover, and have coveted to embrace thee.”
I want to embrace those things which would make me more like Christ, even if they come with suffering. I want to joyfully and desirously come to the cross. I want disciple-making to be more than a hobby.