December 3, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.”—Psalm 78:2–6 (NIV)
In this specific psalm, the author begins by stating that he will reference history as a parable in order to inspire and instruct the current and future generations. In the context of the time, the psalmist is thinking about families passing down stories from generation to generation, and he clearly says we should not even hide the hard parts of the past from our children. This is because the focus of our faith story is not our goodness, but God’s faithfulness!
Think about someone in your life who you look up to. I don’t want you to think of some celebrity or successful person that you admire because of their accomplishments. I want you to think about someone who you admire because you know them and their story! A lot of times, this person may be someone in your family, a teacher, a leader, or a mentor. In most cases, this is a person you have built a meaningful relationship with and who you have gotten to know over time. It’s in these relationships that someone’s story can truly be used to shape and guide another person’s story. This Scripture isn’t just a reminder that we should use our testimonies to testify of God’s faithfulness and redemption, it’s also a reminder that our stories are best used for His glory when we invite others to be a part of them.
When we talk about raising the next generation of Christ followers and missional leaders, we must remember that although the goal is wide, the means of accomplishing the goal is deep. It’s deep because it involves true discipleship. We throw this word around a lot in the church, but what does it actually mean and why is it important?
The actual word “discipleship” is never used in Scripture, rather it’s modeled. To be a disciple, or a mathētēs, means to be a student, but not just your typical student who sits in class and does homework, this kind of student learns through observation and imitation of their teacher or leader’s personal life. In Mark 3:14 (NIV), it says Jesus “appointed twelve [disciples] that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.” The key words here are “be with.” This is what discipleship is all about—living life with Jesus in such a way that we’re constantly being shaped by His own life.
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus gives His disciples a final command to “go and make disciples,” and we know that in the example of Jesus Himself, this can only happen when we’re in relationship with other Christians. We must prioritize having strong relationships with believers who are ahead of us in our faith who can mentor us as well as with others who are a little more behind us who we can mentor. This way, we’re constantly being poured into and then overflowing into the lives of others. In order to actually raise the next generation or even use our stories to testify of God’s faithfulness and the gospel, we must invite others into our stories through true discipleship!
Pause: Ask yourself today, how have you experienced or not experienced discipleship in your own life? Are you currently being discipled or discipling someone else? If not, why?
Practice: Write down a few names of people who you think have mentored you in the past or are currently mentoring you. Thank God for them and then write out a few things you learned from their stories. Also take a moment to write down some people you want to intentionally disciple and take note of how you can do that better.
Pray: Gracious Father, thank You so much for giving us all different stories that point to Your faithfulness! It’s hard sometimes to engage in true discipleship because we live in a world that is so busy and uninterested in it. God, I pray that You would help me to practice discipleship in my life better. Bring people into my life that can help lead and mentor me, and show me others who I can possibly mentor and advise as well. I don’t know what it could look like, but I know that it’s worth it because You call us to it! I trust You and I want to reap the fruit of doing discipleship well, so Holy Spirit, help please. Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.