If you’ve ever walked into a fast food restaurant, the branding makes it obvious which establishment you’ve chosen. It doesn’t matter if you’re in London, Manilla, or San Fransisco, a McDonalds will look like a McDonalds. Granted, there are little things that make each location unique, highlighting different cultural norms or values, but the branding remains consistent, no matter which location you visit to get your fast food fix.
(n) the quality of being reproducible
In the Christian world, we call this “discipleship”, or encouraging or leading ourselves and others to become more like Christ. As Christians (Christ followers), we are called to be disciples, or physical reproductions of Christ here on the earth to minister to those who are hurting and lost. Seems pretty simple, right? Then why do we seem to struggle with this concept so much?
Our western culture isn’t conducive to the idea of discipling others, though it’s how successful businesses have been sustained over time. If we can’t learn how to disciple ourselves and others well, we are in serious trouble.
Disciples were the norm in the Jewish culture: it was how they trained up the next generation, believing that more is caught than taught. The fishermen, tax collector, and others who chose to follow Jesus were used to this type of lifestyle, as they had all shadowed someone else to learn their profession. They were a duplication or a disciple of their father who had taught them. Then Jesus called them to be his disciples.
Think about the un-learning process these men had to go through! I know I’m consistently having to correct paradigms because they’re simply not accurate; I can only imagine what these 12 courageous men had the opportunity to learn during their time with Jesus. These men did most everything together and I’m sure learned a great deal about themselves and others in the light of Jesus’s perfection. You sure do learn a lot about a person when you’re with them 24/7. Imagine the rapid growth that happened for these men as they basked in Jesus’s perfection!
We can be sure that these men who took the gospel to the whole world, duplicating themselves and discipling others, were not the same men Jesus called at the beginning of his ministry! These disciples eventually mentored other men and women in the ministry, discipling them, and duplicating themselves, knowing that the message that Jesus shared was too big to just keep to themselves.
We are always duplicating ourselves in others; what are you choosing to pass on?
The discussion of duplicability is all well and good, it’s a lovely concept to theorize about, but application is much less comfortable. So, I will leave you with these questions to ponder. Please know, I don’t ask these with any sort of condemnation or blame in mind, but I am asking myself these questions along with you.
- Are you a duplication of the God you see in the Bible? Are you working toward the goal of becoming more like Him?
- If you (your character, attitude, etc.) were duplicated in another person, would you like what you saw? If not, what places do you need to ask for God’s help as you grow?
Wow! Tough questions. I would rather not dig too deeply into the answers. I’m not sure how I’d fare. I’m like you, though, trying to figure things out one day at a time. I’m not sure the church is being duplicitous today. The church should be, but I’m seeing many churches turn inward to take care of their own. Oh, they thrive on missions and send people across the world and across town to share the Gospel message with the unchurched and non-believers. Sharing the Gospel is one thing. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I guess I’m not sure how well, or how often, or how much of ourselves we’re investing in others lives enough to call it discipling or duplicity. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You’ve left me to some wonderful things to meditate on and ponder.
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I’m so glad that this post challenged you to ask yourself some hard questions. I believe this process of self-examination is vital to growing. We’ll never be perfect at discipling others, but we can strive every day to be more like Christ and encourage others to do the same. Thanks for stopping by!