Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.
A statement in Day 24 jumped out at me; “We must never stifle disciple making by misleading people to think that they must first be trained in order to witness.” I think back to the verses in the Bible that describe the end of Jesus’ life, the few years that he spent “training” his disciples. Was their “training” at the local synagogue, the local higher learning facility, the local community college? No, it was listening and living with Jesus, following him. The disciples witnessed His love and compassion for people, as he lived among them. He taught by example. He didn’t build a temple (church) and say, “Come listen to me…” He traveled to God’s people, He found them and lived and worked among them.
I grew up thinking that before I could really be good at something, I only needed to study, and read about that subject, and be taught by an expert. There IS wisdom in those steps, but I can see now (“hindsight is 20/20 vision”) that this kind of training can be a crutch, a hindrance… actually delaying the real action that needs to take place for true education… using, practicing, to gain knowledge.
The companion to practicing is being accountable, after practicing, for example, sharing with someone about the hope I have in Jesus death and resurrection. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says that being accountable is “subject to giving an account; answerable; explainable”. Accountability for a perfectionist like me is scary. What if I offend someone… What if they laugh at me when I tell them I love Jesus… What if I don’t use the right words… What if I don’t have answers to their questions… What a sneaky tool for the evil one to use to keep me from the action of sharing the gift of Jesus’ sacrificial love with the people in my daily life. Accountability shines a light on the practicing of my sharing, so that it can be smoothed, honed, corrected, and true skills form. Jesus knows I will never be perfect, so why do I try? He is bigger than any mistake I might make. Again, that “p” word is from this world, and from the evil one.
I suspect that Jesus is waiting for me to use the training he has already given me during my fifty-odd years on this earth and just practice it already – to His glory! He has blessed me with family and friends who will guide, encourage, and lovingly hold me (yikes!) accountable, so that more and more people will believe in the Lord! J