I experienced something this past Saturday night and on my way back to where I am staying the Lord revealed something about the whole experience. In order for me to communicate it in a way that will matter, I have to give some background.
Eighteen months ago I was called to Houston from where I live in North Texas. A beloved friend, a man I had pastored for many years, had died in his sleep. I rushed down to provide support for his surviving friends and to try to make his funeral arrangements. It was an exceedingly sad time for me.
I watch over the souls of a few others in Houston and while I was there I had dinner with one of them (Michael) who has a ministry there and who also watches over several other men. While we were eating he told me he had mentioned to them that I was in town and they, having heard about me many times from Michael, expressed their desire to meet me.
I found myself in an I-HOP in downtown Houston at 11 pm with Michael and two other young men. We met for the next two hours or so. It was a rich time of fellowship. It was almost as if we had always known one another. They peppered me with questions and I answered the best I could.
One of the men, Brent, disciples young men in his home. He invited me to come meet with them sometime and teach them. I agreed to do so sometime in the future. So, when I knew I would be here this past weekend and this week I called him and asked if this would be a good weekend for that. It was.
Saturday night I had a wonderful meal with Brent and his wife and two little boys and after we finished, 3 other men came (Michael was one of those) and we moved to the living room and met. Our visit started at 9 pm and it was 2:30 am before I left!
It was a beautiful night. I taught on spiritual courage and that was well received. I enjoyed the evidences of deep relationship among the men there. I weighed in on various topics as I was invited to do so. The rest of the time I prayed silently and just enjoyed seeing the first century Church in action in 2018 in such an organic and personal form. The love and open hearts they displayed was delightful to witness.
As I drove back to my lodging, at once exhausted AND wide awake, the Lord reminded me of something I experienced way back in 1986 when I first became a Christian.
“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, COMMIT THESE TO FAITHFUL MEN WHO WILL BE ABLE TO TEACH OTHERS ALSO.” (2 Timothy 2:2)
“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, ABLE TO TEACH, patient...” (2 Timothy 2:24)
It has always been God's design that Christians, however else they might gather, meet intimately in small groups ASSEMBLED BY HIM in which they might be taught and discipled.
We saw Jesus do that with His disciples and we see it all through Acts.
I was seeing this very thing happen in Brent's home in Houston.
God reminded me that when I was a brand new Christian I had a man teach me one on one . when I pestered him with all my questions. That was the closest I ever came to being “discipled” all the many years I have been a Christian until my friend and pastor Don Gunter (who passed away last year) watched over my soul.
However, I was SO hungry for the Word of God as a new Christian that I was looking for more than the sermons and large group Bible studies available to me at the time. I discovered a weekly lunchtime Bible study that was held at the oil company building where I worked.
An older retired man came once a week to teach us the Bible. He wouldn't accept any payment from us. He just wanted to teach us the Word of God. I don't even remember the man's name but I DO remember him. I don't think he would mind me not remembering his name. His goal was not to be remembered.
His goal was for the ideas, principles, patterns, commandments and words of God to be a part of us. He wanted us to know Jesus more and more intimately.
I believe he was instrumental in my own spiritual growth. I DO know Jesus...more and more intimately as time goes on. All those things he taught us in that personal manner are foundational in my life.
I wonder sometimes how many people have experienced that humble servant of God, whose name I cannot even recall, through their involvement with me.
So, this past Sunday I found myself driving back to my lodging in the wee hours of the morning and the Lord revealed to me that, on that night, I was to those four young men what that man at the oil company building was to me all those many years ago.
That is to me a very humbling and profound thought.
The things we receive.....those are all for enjoying AND for passing on to someone else.
I hope that we never fall into the trap of thinking that we are spiritually insignificant because we might not have earthly titles, positions, degrees, etc. Those things are all nice to have but they do not make one more spiritually significant or “anointed” than anyone else.
We Christians ARE spiritually significant because the Holy Spirit of God lives in us and because we are in Christ and in the Father.
Jesus speaking: “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” (John 14:20)
What we DO is significant in the lives of others if the Lord is doing it through us.
We don't need earthly titles, positions, degrees, etc. to accomplish this. We simply need to listen and to obey the Lord.
I urge all who read these words to be aware that at any time you might find yourself having come full circle being to someone else the blessing that someone was for you earlier in your Christian walk.
It is a beautiful thing to experience on either side of that dynamic.
May we always be aware and ready to participate in God's advancement of His Kingdom on the earth in this simple, yet deeply profound way.