Nothing is certain but death and taxes… or so they say. I would add another certainty: 24 hours.
Each day, we are given 24 hours to do and leave undone. We all have certain responsibilities that have to be done. We all have leisurely activities that vie for a portion of that time. And then there are the other obligations forced upon us (i.e. “other duties as assigned” in our jobs). But all we are given are 24 hours.
The average American sleeps for eight hours and 45 minutes. If you have a smartphone, you will look at it on average 85 times a day, for a total of five hours. On average, you will give 50 minutes to Facebook and other social media platforms throughout the day. You will spend two and a half hours working through email (hopefully part of that is reading Denison Forum emails) and nine hours and 36 minutes at work. But you will be distracted throughout the day. After all, you have an attention span of 8.2 seconds. A goldfish: nine seconds.
And then there are church activities: the hour-plus worship service, the hour-long Bible study, and the never-ending committee meeting.
But was church supposed to be just another item on the calendar? Along with the average two hours a week you spend exercising?
Contrary to the popular hand motion, the church is more than a building represented by your fists and your steeple fingers, but rather is a group of disciples on mission to make more disciples for God’s glory. We gather together to be encouraged, spurred on (Hebrews 10:24-25) and sent out on mission.
We have been commissioned by the living God to, as we go, make and baptize disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). We are to teach them to observe all that He commanded. Yes, we teach. But it does not end at teaching. Some of the best teachers are those who realize it is more than what you taught, but what they caught. Great teaching happens when you can say, “Do as I say,” then take it to another level when you say, “Do as I do.”
Jesus was a great teacher. He taught Peter about his love (Mark 12). He showed Peter His love (John 11). And when Jesus ascended back into heaven, Peter imitated that love (Acts 3).
We go to church on Sunday, but we go to work on Monday. It is in both places that we have been called to make disciples. And could it be that making disciples is more than a class you attend, but an invitation you extend?
Disciples make disciples by inviting someone into their Facebooking, phone-checking life and say, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ Jesus. (1 Corinthians 11:1)”
My former pastor was fond of saying we are a people that follow the Jesus way. While Jesus did not have Facebook, or an 8-to-5 job, I am convinced that there is a Jesus way of working and Facebooking. He has given us His living word (Hebrews 4:12), better and more sure than His actual presence (2 Peter 1:21). This word should guide us as we seek to teach people to observe all that He commanded (Psalm 119:105).
Yes, we have been called to teach sound doctrine (Titus 1:9). But we have also been called to work it out (Philippians 2:12). And maybe making disciples is inviting someone into the laboratory of life and allowing them the opportunity to watch you work it out with your children over dinner, at the golf course with buddies, or shopping for groceries among strangers.
I am certain you have the time; you just have to redeem your time.
Nick Pitts is the Director of Cultural Engagement for the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture.