Discipleship – THE Counter Cultural Critical Factor: TIME (Part 1)
If you are a human being who is alive right now, one of the first things that may have occurred to you when you think about being (a) in a relationship where you are being discipled and (b) where you are discipling someone, is “where do I find the time to do all of this”?
Seriously, developing any kind of relationship takes time. When you think about relationships, you might feel that you are struggling to maintain the ones you have at reasonably healthy levels. And here I am asking you to add another two relationships on top of that?
These and questions like them pose one of the most significant challenges to the modern potential disciple. Resource rich and time poor is often the description of the modern urban denizen. And here is the challenge. It is also the first discipleship challenge.
One of Jesus’ more interesting pastoral approaches is found in Luke chapter 9. Jesus invites a man to become a disciple. The mans father has just died and he needs to engage in the cultural requirements involving the funeral and surrounding burial rights for his father. Jesus’ terse response to the mans family obligations are “Let the dead bury the dead. As for you, go and proclaim the coming of the Kingdom”. Nice one Jesus. Very compassionate.
I have heard so many different explanations for this heartless kind of response from Jesus. The problem we have is, it is what it is. How is it that Jesus can be so incredibly compassionate and yet seem so heartless in different situations? What is Jesus saying? Regardless of the very negative press Jesus’ ministry will receive because of this interaction, one impression we do get is that of immediacy.
When I think of this story in the gospel, one of the things it reminds me of is emergencies. When someone discovers they have cancer, or when there is some kind of serious accident, you often find that these kinds of events suddenly throw things into stark contrast. In a time of crisis, people remember what is important. I remember someone once saying “I have never heard of a man lying on his deathbed lamenting the fact that he did not spend enough time in the office”. What does a dying person think of? All of the people important to him, that he didn’t spend enough time with.
Time. Time. Time. Time. Time.
Discipleship – THE Counter Cultural Critical Factor: TIME (Part 1) Critical Questions
- Are you happy with the quality of your relationships? Do they get the kind of time that you would like?
- Are you “time poor”? How do you feel about that?
- Think about some of the activities you “have to” do. What would Jesus say about those activities? What would he tell you to leave alone in order to follow him?
- Can you recall a time of crisis when you realised what was important? Reflect on that story with someone this week.