S45P9 – Notes on discipleship: a necessary work

Eph. 4:15-16

But speaking the truth in love, let us grow up in all things into Him who is the Head—Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and knitted firmly together by what every joint supplies, when each part is working properly, causes the body to grow and mature, building itself up in love.

He thought perhaps a small indoor tree would lighten up the place. He found one he liked and took it home like a proud parent. He placed the tree in the right corner and called it a day. As time went on, he noticed that his tree did not look too healthy. First, some of the leaves began to turn brown. Then, they fell off the tree completely. He went back to the shop where he bought the tree to get some help. He was met with three simple questions. “Did you water it?” “Did you put it by a window that gets a lot of sun?” “Did you prune it?” His answer was the same to all of these questions: “no.” It was as if he never realized that this tree would take some work. He did not consider that he would need to have a hand in making sure that the tree grew to maturity.

The body of Christ, the Church at large, is like a tree. Some are branches, some are leaves and some are flowering buds. Together, we are one organism that requires work to keep growing and maturing. Discipleship is a critical job of the Church to keep the tree growing to maturity. If the Church were to simply remain still as it is right now, that growth would end. If we fail to care for a tree, it does not merely stunt its growth. The tree actually begins to die. It degrades over time. The Church is the same way. It cannot remain in the status quo. It must either move forward or move backward, but it cannot stay still. If we were to ignore the work of discipleship, then the Church would begin to wilt and die. It is a necessary work for us to continue raising up new disciples.

The Church as a tree has an endless root system. Being grounded in Jesus Christ, we have an unlimited supply of all that we need. Whether it is spiritual sunlight or water or pruning, there is an abundance. The thing is, God wants us to take part in the gardening process. It is not for us to tread water where we are and forget to seek growth. It is for us to continually do the work of discipleship so that the Church may grow to maturity. If we see our brothers and sisters beginning to wilt, let us step up and offer to do a good work for them. Father, thank You for providing everything that your Church needs to thrive and grow, and keep us vigilant to continue to do the good work of discipleship.