Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I drove Loretta to the Personnel Office to officially check in to her new position at the Human Services Department of the City of San Francisco. She will start work on Monday. This is indeed a special provision from God, and again thank you for your prayer support. Moreover, my son-in-law had been laid off for two weeks but was re-hired again yesterday. God gave us double blessings this week. When I looked back, I thank God for giving Loretta a month off to rest and served as my volunteer; she helped me re-organize my library and file cabinet (it is a big job). Through the thick and thin of life, we experienced the love and friendship of God. He is like a cheer leader of dragon boat race, who motivates us each day to paddle forward until we reach the finish line. Praise the Lord!
"Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep" (John 21:16). Jesus did not say - Make converts to your way of thinking, but look after My sheep, see that they get nourished in the knowledge of Me. We count as service what we do in the way of Christian work; Jesus Christ calls service what we are to Him, not what we do for Him. Discipleship is based on devotion to Jesus Christ, not on adherence to a belief or a creed. "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26). There is no argument and no compulsion, but simply - If you would be His disciple, you must be devoted to Him. A man touched by the Spirit of God suddenly says - "Now I see who Jesus is," and that is the source of devotion.
Today we have substituted doctrinal belief for personal belief, and that is why so many are devoted to causes or missions, and so few devoted to Jesus Christ. People do not want to be devoted to Jesus, but only to the ministry He started. Jesus Christ is a source of deep offence to the educated mind of today that does not want Him in any other way than as a companion. Our Lord's first obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of men; the saving of men was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father. If I am devoted to the cause of humanity only, I will soon be exhausted and come to the place where my love will fade; but if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity though men treat me as a doormat. The secret of a disciple's life is devotion to Jesus Christ, and the characteristic of the life is its unobtrusiveness or humility. “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24). Moreover, this seed will spring up and alter the whole landscape of the field.
Discipleship is not just transferring knowledge of the Bible or providing information on our theology. It is helping a person to become a devoted follower of Christ. In order to do so, the discipler has to be a devoted friend of Christ first. We are talking about introducing your good friend to another friend. It is a devoted relationship that gives birth to another relationship. Therefore, we need to watch out the friendship factor in discipleship. Being a true friend, you will not manipulate a relationship. You want to be as genuine and transparent in your relationship as possible. This is how our Lord expects our friendship with Him too. “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15b). A devoted follower of Christ commits to walk with Him in a truthful and passionate manner. You don’t give excuses for not doing what your Lover expects. If you do, your relationship will eventually come to a dead-end street. Even though the love of God is unconditional, you will miss the fulfillment of that relationship with God if you are not true and sincere to Him. Deep down inside, you will feel a void or emptiness in your relationship with Christ. If you do share such feeling now, it is God’s call for you to make a U turn back to Him.
Once you enjoy this relationship with Christ, you will not feel ashamed to tell others about this best friend of yours. You wish your other friends would become His friend too. To me this is the way evangelism should be. We don’t go around proselytize or convert people to believe in our religion. We introduce Jesus to our friends. Tell them how much Jesus means to you. And show them how they can also develop a friendship with Him too. I am sure our Lord will do His part to draw close to these pre-Christian friends of ours, so that they will have a taste of this divine friendship in Christ.
Love you because of His love,