“And” Discipleship

“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’” (Mark 8:34 NIV).

For the last two years, WMU has focused on Mark 8:34 and the theme All For You: Surrender, Sacrifice, Service. This theme has been a call to all believers to obey Jesus’ radical call to obedience and discipleship.

In Mark 8:34, there are three distinct actions which are reflected in the WMU emphasis. This theme has challenged me to learn that it is not enough to take only one or two of these actions.

In this stage of life, it’s easy to want to do more in the community. Too often I say “yes” to a service opportunity before I truly surrender my will to the Lord.

Sometimes I deny myself halfway, but refuse to take up my cross.

Other times I am tempted to go to the other extreme, surrendering my will, sacrificing my plans, but failing to offer my hands in service.

A key word in Mark 8:34 which is easy to overlook is the small conjunction “and.” Jesus could have used the word “or,” but He had no intention of giving his disciples a choice between three possible ways to be obedient or three paths of discipleship. He could have said “then,” in order to show a progression from one stage of discipleship to another. Instead, Jesus used “and.”

“And” may be the hardest part of this call. Surrender, sacrifice, and service are all equal parts of God’s plan for discipleship. Jesus never said discipleship would be easy. But He did promise to be with us every step of the way.

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20b NIV).

 

Amanda-Grace Schultz holds a master’s degree in theology from Campbellsville University and is passionate about missions education and discipleship.

 

 

 

 

 

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