Monday, March 9, 2015
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Peter and Shirley were members of our ministry team, and their daughter was kind enough during her last semester of college to buy a dog. That meant that when she finished college, the dog moved in with Peter and Shirley. They inherited Starbuck. No that's not coffee! That's a black Labrador retriever.
Peter experienced some interesting things about that dog. The dog was stuck like glue to Peter and Shirley. Everywhere Peter went, Starbuck went, whether he wanted him to go with him or not. They'd both go into the living room; Starbuck followed. They would go in the kitchen, Starbuck was right there with them. Starbuck didn't care much where he went. He just followed Peter around. And Peter often wanted to say to the dog, "Hey, listen! Leave me alone! Don't you have something to do?" Then he'd look at those big ole eyes looking up at him.
My family has experienced the same thing throughout the years because we've had some dogs. Every time it was true, the dog didn't care where he was, he just wanted to be where his master was.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How a Dog Defines 'Disciple.'"
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from John 12:26. Jesus says, "Whoever serves Me must follow Me. And where I am my servant also will be." He's talking here about the central response of someone who is a true follower of Jesus Christ. Find out where my Master is and be there. Find out where my Master's going. I'm going to go there too.
This kind of allegiance to the Master's direction is what being a disciple is all about. It's not just about having the right beliefs and going to the right meetings. No, it's about being where your Master is and He wants to move deeper into your life. That's supposed to be your starting point every morning.
In Luke 9:23 Jesus said, "Take up your cross daily and follow Me." Each day you get into God's Word, where He gives His direction. You hold that book in your lap and you say, "Lord, show me what new ground you want to touch today." And then you want to be where Jesus is as He's moving in the lives of the people you love. You start to look around at your mate, your children. What's He trying to do in their life? You want to be a part of that. You try to follow Him in what He's doing in their life. Don't try to shape them in the way you want them to go. Follow where your Master's going in their life. Contribute to what He's trying to do.
With our children, you nurture what God seems to be doing in their life. You find out where God's going in their life and you follow Him there. And then, He also is moving in that place where you are serving Jesus. You follow His lead there as well. The key question a leader needs to be asking is, "Where does Jesus seem to be going in this?" When a board meets, when a committee meets, when a leader is on his knees praying, "Lord, where are you going in this ministry?" Not, "Where would I like to take You, Lord, in this ministry?"
You seek out God's agenda. You go with His flow, and it becomes an exciting dynamic process. But you've got to stay flexible, because you never know where your Master's going to go next. But then that's how that dog follows his master isn't it? Wherever my master is, I will be there wherever that takes me.
In John 12:24, just before this, Jesus said "He would be lifted up to die for lost people." And I'll tell you, if you're going to go where Jesus is going, pretty soon you're going to be in the middle of reaching lost people, because that's where Jesus is always going. He said He came here "to seek and to save the lost." If you're following Jesus, you'll end up seeking and saving someone lost.
I learned a lot about being a disciple from watching what happened at Peter's house, and from watching our dog. A dog's big issue is pretty basic. "Where is my master right now?" The dog's made his decision where he'll be; wherever his master is. And so it is with a disciple of Jesus. Where is my Master on this issue? I don't care where that takes me. I don't care what that costs me. I've decided where I'm going. I just want to be where my Master is.