On December 25th, we typically celebrate Christ’s birth by giving presents to family and friends. How about, this year, giving God a present?
Okay, what can you give to someone who really does have everything? The only answer I can think of is time. Time spent on doing something he’s asked us to do. Like making disciples. How about giving God your commitment to make a disciple this year?
Here’s how to get started:
- Find, buy, or make at least one small stocking of any material you like.
- Decorate it however you wish.
- Hang the stocking in a place where you’ll see it often.
- Each day, pray that God will give you a name to put on it.
- Commit for the coming year to do whatever you can to disciple the person whose name God puts on your heart, whether the person is aware you are doing it or not.
Whose name might God give you?
There are essentially three kinds of people who need to be discipled:
- New Believers. The most obvious, and perhaps the most frightening—lead a non-Christian to Christ and then follow-up. In the course of three years, my neighbour became a friend, found a new relationship with Christ through a “basic” Bible study, and continued on to the point where she could begin to reach out and make disciples on her own. Then she moved away. But her faith continued to grow, and she’s now in a key leadership position in her church.
- People within the church who may or may not have made a genuine commitment at some point, but lack a vital relationship with God. This may be difficult because few people who are part of a church are willing to admit they aren’t mature in Christ. “Oh, how you can fool others. I knew the right phrases and all the right actions…. But who was I really fooling? Certainly not Christ!” said a friend who had been born into a Christian family. She became part of a group of three women I met with each week. She rediscovered the vitality and freshness of a daily relationship with Christ, and began for the first time to share her faith without reserve.
- Peers. For three years, I spent several hours each week just being there for a woman from another country who found herself in a strange city with different customs and a different style of worship. Some days, she needed answers to questions that arose as she read her Bible or Christian books. Occasionally, she wanted to bounce ideas off another believer. Other days, she simply needed to know there was someone who would listen to her fears and frustrations. While I’ve grown from all my discipling relationships, this woman challenged me the most in my own understanding and growth.
The most precious gift we can give
Jesus spent three years living with his twelve disciples. He spent hours talking to them, answering their questions, healing them, and loving them whether they were lovable or not. But, most important, he lived out his life in front of them. He hid nothing. Not even his weariness and tears.
To God, the most precious thing in this world isn’t silver or gold, diamonds or rubies. It has nothing to do with accomplishments or promotions or designer clothes. What God cares about is that the people He loves come to know him at a deep, personal level and in turn show forth his love. This Christmas, give God the gift of your time and let Him use you to accomplish something good in another person’s life.
Even if all you do is offer friendship, you’ll still be making a difference.
*This article was originally published in the Maranatha News.