There are these little differences in our experiences of the Christian life today that (in my mind at least) demonstrate a wide departure from the examples of Christian living we have presented to us in the Scriptures. I don’t consider these to always be intentional departures on out part – more like gradual driftings from the course we were told to follow. The result is the same though: disobedience.
Take disciple-making for example.
Mark 3:13 says, “…and Jesus called for those he wanted and they came to him.” It is Mark’s brief account of Jesus’ selection of his disciples. Consider as well Matthew 28:19, “Go and make disciples of all nations…” These, of course, the words of Jesus to us in the Great Comission. So, what is the subtle departure in our application of this example/command Jesus gives us?
I think if we were trying to guess what Mark 3:13 or Matthew 28:19 said by the way we actually live (at least in the western church), they might read more like, “…and the 12 called to Jesus and asked Him to disciple them”, and “Go and be discipled in all the nations…”
Jesus chose his disciples and gave his life away to them so they would continue to do the same. We, on the other hand, seek out people we want to disciple us and use them to get a leg up on other believers, to feel valuable, to fix our insecurities, or to just fill our heads with more knowledge. This, of course, doesn’t diminish the work of the disciple-maker, but their investment made in that disciple will terminate with that disciple and not be replicated (unless someone later on down the road recognizes that disciple as someone who is ‘awesome’ and, thus, ‘worthy’ to be their mentor and the selfish process stays alive…and so on and so on).
Disciple-making is a command for every believer. You would think by observing our western American church culture today that the the command is more to be discipled. Not only is that a departure from the example Jesus modeled for us, it is self-serving, utilitarian, and (ultimately) leads to our omission of the Great Comission.