That moment you jump out of bed, throw on clothes, and take off to wherever in the world it may be when you hear the words, “he most likely won’t make it through the night.” I remember getting a call one night informing me my great grandpa was in this situation. I immediately got out of bed, put on some clothes and headed to him. There was no thinking whether or not I should go. I simply went. I wanted the last hug, the last ounce of eye contact, the last words. Because just maybe…they’ll mean something for years and years to come.
Or maybe you didn’t expect that person to leave so soon, but you most likely recall your last conversation.
I remember being at Christmas with one of my grandma’s several years ago. I had to leave for a few minutes so I gave her a hug and said, “I’ll be right back.”
Had I known it would be the last time I would speak to her, I definitely would’ve chosen something else to say. Because we think about that, right? Last words are meaningful and hold importance.
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:19-20, ESV)
Jesus said these words right before ascending into heaven. He could’ve said anything.
Hey, your sandal is loosed. Don’t forget to take care of Mary. Oh gosh, remember that time we were on the boat and y’all were flipping out because of the raging sea and I was like “be still” and it was still.
Out of all the profound, life-changing things Jesus said throughout his life, His last words before leaving earth were to go, make disciples, baptize, teach them. Don’t forget, I’m with you through it all.
I spent most of last week at a very HOT camp called Falls Creek. For all of you who don’t live in Oklahoma, it’s an enormous church camp that floods junior high and high school students with Jesus, worship music, challenges them in their faith, and fills them with fantastic food (thank you Dena Walker and your sweet momma!).
Each night you see tons of students surrendering their life to Jesus. It’s a powerful moment. Obviously some might argue that the response is based on emotion and I agree that some are definitely influenced by the emotion of it all, but I’ve met too many people who are fully devoted followers of Christ who surrendered to Him at this camp and are still diligently following Him years and years later to believe it’s solely based on the emotion of it all.
I am beyond thrilled so many students surrendered to Jesus, but not going to lie, the last two days I was overwhelmed with frustration and thoughts and ideas. I found myself several times, sitting by myself thinking about the fact that so many of these students had surrendered their lives to Jesus and would be thrown into “normal” in just a few short days. Normal which is probably flooded with temptation, real life, or maybe previous bullies, unsupportive parents, etc.
Earlier this summer I was at my sister’s swimming pool. My darling brother-in-law threw a grasshopper at me, I, of course, punched him, which started a 5 minute battle of him trying to throw me in the pool in my clothes, me trying to fight him off, my children deciding they all of a sudden adore me and think he is the meanest thing on the planet. I mean I stood my ground, but really it was inevitable. I knew at some point I was going to go in as that guy is significantly stronger than me (don’t tell him that). Ten minutes later he was done swimming, standing in his towel and the girl in the wet shorts and tank top gets back at him. (Pretty sure my nephew still hasn’t forgiven me for pushing his daddy in.)
I think back to being 6 when my uncles used to simply pick me up and hurl me into the lake. Or when I pick up my 2-year-old nephew and chunk him as far across the pool as I can. It’s easy. Throwing 30 year old Brooke is a different battle. I’m stronger than I was at 6. I’m a bit quicker (not much). I have learned how to stand my ground and fight back for awhile.
I think about all these kids going back to normal. I was frustrated for days wondering if they’d get back and have someone teaching them or building them up…encouraging them when they faced temptation, or asking questions when they arise. Knowing that at this stage in their walk with Christ maybe they simply don’t know how to battle temptation. They may not know how to respond to someone critical of their faith. They may not see the power they have in Christ to withstand spiritual battle. They will learn it, but it will take some time.
Each day I’m teaching my children how to do things. How to hold your spoon, how to put your clothes on, how to make sure you rinse all the shampoo out of your hair, how to not bite your sister when you get mad. I pray over them so that they may recognize the importance of prayer. I read their bible to them. I sometimes simply tell them how much I love Jesus and (hopefully I’m showing that as well) so that they know…it’s not just about praying a prayer and then going to church, but it goes far deeper.
I invest in them. Despite my failings, I attempt to teach them things from spoon holding to worshiping Jesus. Obviously I am way off sometimes and I have to remind myself that this deep investment matters deeply.
Just as these little kiddos need to have a bit of instruction, so do believers…young and old.
“Obviously, only God can change people’s hearts and make them want to become followers. We [believers] just have to be obedient in making the effort to teach them, even though we still have plenty to learn ourselves.” (Francis Chan)
We can come up with tons of excuses why not to invest in new/other believers’ lives.
I’m too busy. I don’t have time. My house is too dirty to have people over. I don’t know enough. Someone else will do it.
But there is one reason alone of why we should invest in other believers that trumps all of these excuses. We are commanded to! Jesus says to make disciples, the bible over and over in multiple ways to encourage one another, build each other up, teach each other.
Hebrews 10:23-25 says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
God has been reminding me of this for days, so I want to encourage you as well… If you aren’t investing in a new believer, then start. If you don’t have someone to invest in you, then find someone. Encouragement goes a long way!
Bye friends! 🙂