A story was told of a traveller who went to Africa for a safari adventure. He hired some local people to carry his supplies. On the first morning, they set off early and travelled fast, covering a great distance. The same thing happened on the second and third morning. The traveller was pleased with the amount of distance he had covered so far. But on the fourth morning, the local people suddenly refused to move. Instead, they sat by a tree well into the morning, doing nothing. The traveller was indignant and asked his translator, “Why aren’t they moving? They are wasting valuable time!” The translator answered calmly, “They’re waiting for their souls to catch up with their bodies.”
Living in a fast-paced urban society, time seems to fly by quickly. We are now at the mid-point (June) of 2013. May I suggest that we intentionally take time out from the ‘tyranny of the urgent’ to seek God’s face. Like a gardener, it is time to prune the discipleship tree which we had planted at the beginning of the year… lest we find ourselves moving but not advancing, living but not growing.
I began this year with the intention to grow in the following areas:
- My relationship with God: To set aside daily and weekly discipline to pray, to study His Word and to read and journal more about Him.
- My relationship with God’s family: To disciple my elder son; to have weekly family devotion and to be involved in discipling men in church.
- My relationship with God’s world: To ask God to send the “fish”; to be personally involved in witnessing and preaching Christ to individuals.
As I arrived at the mid-point of 2013, I reflected on my discipleship journey thus far and reckoned these things:
The low-hanging fruits
- I experienced the joyful first fruits of living intentionally in the above areas. Having family devotions had been fun. I am in awe to know how my children can remember those short Scriptural sharing in our devotional time together.
Pruning the branches that bear fruits
- I note there is a need to improve further on those areas which are bearing fruits in order to bear more fruits! While I have been reading more often these days, I note the need to pen down my reflections more intentionally, to ensure I remember what I learnt from those books.
Cutting off branches that are not producing fruits
- A Christian leader highlighted that to live life intentionally, before we work on our “to-do” list, we must first work on our “stop-doing” list. We have only 24 hours a day and a limited amount of energy. To grow deeper as a disciple, there are competing stuff that needs to go so as to avail time and energy for the one thing that is needful. I realise I need to cut down on my TV watching so that I can spend more time to disciple my sons. To disciple men in church, I need to trim down other ministry activities to focus on this.
Breaking and fertilizing the soil
- There are areas where I have not grown much. Thus far, I have not been personally involved in preaching Christ to an individual. I need to pray more fervently for fishes, be more conscious of the Spirit’s guidance and more intentional in seeking opportunity to be His ambassador of the gospel!
I celebrate the low-hanging first fruits He had given me; I welcome His pruning ways to make me more fruitful; I yield to His discipline to re-prioritise my life; I allow Him to continue the work He has begun in me, unto completion. I am excited in this discipleship journey I am travelling with my Master Jesus Christ!
May I invite you to do the same. To stop before you proceed any further. It is time to “wait for our soul to catch up with our bodies”. In this mid-point of the year, come away to seek His face. Look back at your “discipleship tree” and consider His ways. Behold what an exciting journey it is!
By Rick Toh, Lead Pastor (YCKC Bulletin 1&2 June 2013)