Happy Father’s Day to all who are fathers and father-figures. Being a father or a dad comes with the role of being a disciple-maker. This is intuitive to most. Many, including myself, question how to be a good disciple-maker to our children and charges. The bible shows us how.
Listen and obey – Desire of a disciple
A disciple-maker is first and foremost a disciple. A disciple desires to follow and please his master. The implication is that the disciple prioritizes listening to his master’s voice and doing his master’s will. He does not have to be forced to listen or to do his master’s will. This character reflects the heart of Jesus, who says in John 5:19 that He can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. By being disciples of Christ, the heart posture of fathers becomes an example for our children to follow.
It is not coincidental that this year, we celebrate Father’s Day at the start of our church camp, the theme of which is “Hearing the Voice of God.” This Father’s Day, at this church camp, let us learn anew the first step of being a disciple of Christ – how to listen to the voice of God more intently, that we may be more effective disciple-makers.
Show and tell – Work of a disciple-maker
A disciple-maker aims to show his disciples how to live a life that would reflect Christ-likeness. Every word, every action, every decision and every emotion, can consciously or subconsciously influence the disciple’s development, and can be opportunities to intentionally teach values. God the Father expects this of every earthly father. That is why the Shema prayer of the Jews in Deut 6:4-9 includes instructions (vs 7-9) on how to teach children to love the Lord God. Essentially these are to regularly and constantly show and tell our disciples, through visual and aural reminders, how to love our Lord God.
Jesus Himself showed and told His disciples how to live a life that would please God the Father. In His high priestly prayer in John 17, Jesus proclaimed that “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world” (vs 6) and “I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth … (vs 8). Also, in vs 19, He proclaimed, “…for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.” Jesus showed, told and lived a life for his disciples to follow.
Point and fade – Destiny of a disciple
Finally, every disciple-maker needs to know that he is never going to be perfect on this side of heaven. He needs to remember the principle that “A disciple is not above his teacher” (Matt 10:24) and cannot progress beyond his teacher. Hence, beyond a certain point, fathers, as disciple-makers need to point our disciples to the perfect Disciple-Maker, our Lord Jesus Christ. And when we see and hear that our disciples are hearing and obeying the perfect Disciple-Maker, we rejoice greatly. Just like John the Baptist in John 3:29-30, we also proclaim, “…this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase but I must decrease.”
By Dr Ong Kiat Hoe, Elder (YCKC Bulletin 16&17 June 2018)