This is not a post about the Coronavirus 🙂 But I can’t ignore the connection between the notes in my journal and the news around the world right now about the virus. Realizing I was too focused on the media, and turning back to my Bible study time, I smiled, hearing what God was saying to me. And I believe this lesson is not just for me. You see, the last thing I wrote in my journal before beginning our self-quarantine was the word CROWN with a list of Bible verses containing the word crown.
CORONA means CROWN.
This is your invitation to come with me for a few minutes as we turn our eyes away from the coronavirus and towards God. Let’s hear what His word says about crowns.
I wrote down a list of Bible verses containing the word crown because this question from a podcast has been lingering in my heart: Who is your crown?
We might be familiar with verses like 1 Corinthians 9:25, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” Or 2 Timothy 4:8, “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
You may be asking, “So, what is my crown?” The Making Disciples podcast (come back and listen to this episode…it’s 49 minutes and worth every second!) challenged me to ask a different question: “Who is my crown?”
Let’s look at two more verses:
Philippians 4:1 “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!”
1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.
Friends, do you hear this!? PEOPLE are our crowns! Jesus calls us to make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20), and the people we disciple….they are our crowns!!
The only things we’ll take to heaven are relationships: our relationship with God and our relationships with other people.
Who is your crown?
In one of my Bible study groups, we had a conversation about the people God places in our lives. We are to always be in relationship with people a step ahead of us and a step behind us in our faith. We need people who are encouraging us and teaching us to grow stronger in our faith, and we need to be teaching, encouraging, and strengthening someone else in their relationship with Christ. To find those people, we simply look for the people whom God has entrusted to us. They may be our children, our neighbors, our friends, our coworkers, or anyone God puts in our path.
Who is discipling you? Who are you discipling? I bet there was a name or face that popped into your mind just now. I’m praying that God will bring these people to your heart.
When we know who those people are, what do we do?
How do we disciple others?
How do we pass on our faith to our kids?
How do we impart the character of Christ to a friend?
It’s actually really simple!
Let’s look back at first Thessalonians chapter 2. Verse 8 says, “because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”
So, how do we disciple someone? We share our lives with them!
It’s easy to love the people God calls us to love. Much like Paul loved Timothy as a son and a co-laborer in Christ, we just love them. We include them in our lives. We treat them like family. It’s good to keep in mind that we can’t do this with everyone. Jesus had 12 disciples. It takes time.
The person who’s had the biggest impact on my faith never taught me in a Sunday School classroom, or a formal Bible study. She just brought me into her life. I was kind of stubborn and tried to avoid it at times, but she kept reaching out to me. She kept inviting me. She kept praying for me. One of my favorite memories with her is going to the mall to return a dress. She didn’t have to invite me, but she did. We didn’t call this “discipleship”, but it was.
When you invite someone into those ordinary moments of your life, they can’t help but see how you live and how you love others. All those simple, everyday, small acts of kindness eventually add up to paint a big picture of who Jesus is and how, through ordinary people, His love is passed on to others.
I believe the secret to discipleship is this: let someone be WITH YOU.
So, who has the Lord put on your heart?
Invite her family to come over for dinner with you.
Invite her to go for a walk with you.
Invite her to go grocery shopping with you.
Invite her on a vacation weekend with you.
Invite her to sit on your porch and drink tea with you.
Invite her to teach Sunday school with you.
Invite her to return a dress to the mall with you.
(You’ll have to be cautious in how you do this right now during social distancing…here are some ideas of how to stay connected.)
And as you are drinking tea together, or serving at church together, or walking through the mall together, share with her what Jesus is doing in your life. Talk about what He revealed to you from His Word this week. Tell her about your neighbors who you are praying for today. And encourage her to share with others what God is doing in her life. Be patient. Keep doing this as long as God calls you to. One day, when she can’t wait to tell you about the people in her life, the people she’s inviting over for tea, the people she’s praying for, the people she’s sharing Christ’s love with… you’ll realize that by investing in one life, you have followed Jesus’ command to make disciples. Let’s pray for each other to become disciples who make disciples who make disciples who make disciples.
So whose life are you investing in right now? Who are you inviting to go with you? Who are you sharing Christ’s love with? Who is your joy? Who is your crown?
Let me leave you with these words from David Platt about making disciples:
“When you begin to take a few people, relationships that God has entrusted to you, people you’ve shown the word to and taught the word to, and you begin to take those relationships and you begin to empower them to serve alongside you…and you do that in context – on your campus or in your community or in your city – and you take those people with you and you begin to go after the world together, you serve the world! And it’s at this point, that we are now part of a process of mobilizing an army of believers that is taking on the world; that is multiplying the gospel to the world. Picture going out and serving the world together. If we just show the word to each other and we just teach the word to each other, but we don’t serve the world together, we won’t be making disciples; it’s got to be there! “
David Platt, Making Disciples podcast, July 15, 2019
Now, go. Go, and share the word with someone. Go, and show the word to someone. Go, and teach the word to someone. Then take that person with you as you go, and serve the world together 💕