A few friends of mine and I are discipling several high schoolers. I can't express how exciting, challenging, rewarding, and frustrating it is...and we just started! We are using the method described in the book "Building a Discipling Culture" by Mike Breen which, in my opinion, nails it on how we are to make disciples that make other disciples. The book uses the idea of shapes to teach certain principles, which is brilliant. One of the other cool things is that it is not a "Step One, Step Two, etc..." approach to making disciples. Leaders are taught to look at their group, pray, and discern which one and where to start with. What's really cool .... without consulting with each other ... we all landed on the semi-circle ... which teaches the rest and work. Have I mentioned that I love how the Holy Spirit works?
I'll save you the details, but the foundational idea is this ... we are to work from our rest, not rest from our work. Did you catch that? It's subtle, but changes everything. So often we think rest is something we earn once we have worked hard enough. However, God see things differently ... He usually does ... that's His "thang". Rest isn't something you earn ... it's a vital part of the rhythm of life ... it's something that you must do in order for your work to be fruitful. Oh, and speaking of fruitfulness, He also says that sometimes you have to prune good fruit in order for the tree to grow stronger! Translation ... sometimes you have to cut out the good things in your life, (soccer games, hobbies, etc), in order for you to rest so greater fruitfulness will spring forth in your life, (love, joy, peace, etc).
I remember after we taught all the ins-and-outs of the shape, I asked the group, "Soooo ... what do you think? Is this possible? Do you think you can live this way?" I knew what the answer was going to be for many of them ... and sadly I was right. Many of them said, "No" ... one even boldly shared that what we were saying wasn't even registering with them ... almost like we were teaching them that they could breath underwater and you always have been able to. In fact, you were born to breath underwater!
How did we get so far away from this rhythm of life? How have we deluded ourselves to think that rest is only something we can enjoy once we have earned it? I look at so many people around me ... especially our kids ... and I see kids that are tired and burned-out ... like they just left from working in the coal mines for 12-hours straight ... KIDS. Then I look at their parents ... and I see the same thing ... and it breaks my heart. I want to scream to them that rest isn't something you earn ... it's something you do ... it's the place you work from! All too often I see something else ... I see those same people think that God's love and provision is something that needs to be earned too ... and that really breaks my heart.
There's this cool story that an Indian priest, Anthony de Mello once told. He said that a rich industrialist from the North was horrified to find a Southern fisherman lying leisurely beside his boat.
“Why aren’t you fishing?” asked the industrialist.
“Because I have caught enough fish for the day,” said the fisherman.
“Why don’t you catch some more?”
“What would I do with them?”
“You could earn more money,” was the reply. “With that, you could fix a motor to your boat, go into deeper waters and catch more fish. Then you would make enough money to buy nylon nets. These would bring you more fish and more money. Soon you would have enough money to own two boats . . . maybe even a fleet of boats. Then you would be a rich man like me.”
“What would I do then?”, asked the fisherman.
“Then you could really enjoy life.”, said the industrialist.
“What do you think I am doing right now?”, said the fisherman.
Y'all ... rest isn't something that you work for ... it's something that you work from. God's forgiveness ... His love ... isn't something that you need to earn ... it's something you already have.