By Pastor Nathan Richardson, Heartland Community Church, La Porte CityDisciples are Mature

The first three weeks of March we looked at different stages of discipleship. Unfortunately last week with my schedule I was unable to write one. For that I am sorry. This week we will wrap it up with the final two stages of discipleship as written about in the book Discipleshift.
To grow from a child to a young adult there are a few changes that will take place. First we grow physically. We grow in size. We grow in strength. Healthy growth will happen due to the food and drinks we consume and exercise. We also grow in maturity. The gap between being a child and a young adult is a big one and can be measured by the Great Commandment to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.” As a child we are still very selfish and look out for our own needs and desires.
As we grow into adulthood we realize the world is not just about us. If we are to be growers, we must live out what we are learning. We must put aside our pride and realize we are not always the best ones to decide how to live. Matthew 6:24 says “we cannot serve two masters.” It is impossible to serve two contradicting philosophies. I once heard this quote, “You cannot chase two rabbits at the same time. Both will get away.”
As growers we must be willing to sacrifice our time, our talent and treasure. God has blessed us in order to bless others. This might mean your willingness to give financially, using your talent to serve God and others in a multitude of ways. There is no better gift than time. If you want to show people you care give them your time. Whatever it might be find the purpose that God has placed you into and find a place to serve.
The final stage is becoming a parent. When I became a parent. I did not realize how selfish I could be. How easy it was to do anything I wanted. But when Tedy was born things changed. The biggest difference was that I had to learn to be intentional about what I did. Scheduling my day to fit in family, work, exercise and serving God was hard. When you intentionally live your life to serve others your life will change.
One thing about being a parent you have a smaller representation of yourself. No one wants their kids to still be living at home in the basement at age 35 still needing mom to cut their meat at dinner. How we live our lives will impact our children one way or the other, so we might as well be intentional about pouring into our children’s lives.
Parents are all in. God has called us according to the Great Commission, “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” In order to teach something you must first live it. Your child will know when your beliefs do or do not line up to your life style. You must learn to live in a way that follows through on your beliefs. So many children walk away from faith because there parents only talked faith but never lived it out.
This past Sunday was Easter and if we learned anything from it, we learned that Jesus was willing to put his Father’s will in front of his own. He laid down his “life as a ransom for many.” It was because of this sacrifice that our sins can be forgiven and that we can be a part of his kingdom. Jesus modeled a life of sacrifice so we could imitate him and live a life in pursuit of these same qualities.
So wherever you fall on the discipleship stages of infant, child, young adult or parent, be willing to take the next step. Enjoy where you are but do not dwell there. Do not become comfortable in one stage or the other. God has called us all to be disciples of him and it means to always strive to grow in your life and to serve others to help them grow.