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Tools For The Task Of Disciple Making, Does It Matter?

kitchen-toolsA Disciple Making Parable

&  A Couple of Questions:

 

A world renown older gourmet chef was looking for someone to carry on his legacy.  He decided to open his kitchen, receive candidates, and interview some for the role of an apprentice.  One by one they came and were dismissed for not being equal to the task.  The chef was a bit taken back by the next candidate as he was a man of small stature.  Curiously, this small man came with a machete strapped to his leg.  This candidate was certainly more interesting than any of his previous candidates, so the old chef decided to test him. 

The old chef asked the small man where his chef tools were.  Pointing to his machete, he said “this is all I need.”  “Ridiculous!” Thought the old chef…  and took it as a challenge.   “We’ll start easy,” the chef said.  “Slice these tomatoes.”  The small man took the machete out of its sheath and went to work.  Paper thin, chunks, decorative shapes, and even peeled, the small man worked those tomatoes in a blaze of metal and clanging.  The old chef was astonished, although he wouldn’t let on.  “Ok, he’s got talent” the old chef thought, but I’ve got him now… “let’s slice some cheese,” he said.  Again the small man went to work slicing, cubing, and chopping.  “Shredded!” said the old chef.  A few more swipes with the machete and some wisps of wind later, there was a pile of perfectly shredded cheese.  Egg Scrambling, dough making, can opening, meat carving, garlic smashing, sifting, beating, separating, whisking, and like tasks were all done with absolute precision and complete humility and all with the machete.    

The old chef looked at the small man and said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t take you on as my apprentice.”  For only the second time, the small man spoke and asked “Why not?”  The old chef responded, “because you didn’t use the right tools for the job.”  The small man reached out to shake hands with the old chef and thanked him for the opportunity.  On his way out the door, the small man turned and asked, “what does it matter which tools I use, so long as the task was done?”  The old chef lowered his head and thought for a moment and when he lifted his head to speak, the small man was gone. 

 

As it relates to discipleship (The Making of Disciples), what’s the moral of this story?

Does it really matter which tools we use to make disciples, so long as the task is done? 

 

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    1. Bumble February 1, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

      It depends how you understand what is “discipleship”. If you see “disciples” as the end-product (the gourmet dinner at the end), then the right tool is not essential. If you see “disciples” as the process (the apprentice who continue the legacy), then the right tool is important.

      • Miguel February 2, 2013 at 7:50 am #

        Bumble, I’d love to unpack your comment, but not right now. Thanks!

    2. Jonathan February 1, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

      This subject has nearly consumed me for most of my adult life. Here’s where I am now:

      1) Luke 9:23 “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”

      2) 1 Timothy 4:7 ” Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;”

      3) 2 Corinthians 3:18 “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

      1) is the command. 2) tells us what to do 3) tells us what we’re shooting for and how we get there.

      All of this points, in my opinion, to the spiritual disciplines. These are the only tools I’m aware of and while there are various lists (I like Whitney’s and Willard’s descriptions but there are others who have written well about them) I no longer believe that discipleship is possible away from them.

      • Rob Kampen February 1, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

        By spiritual disciplines you mean?? Reading the word, praying, fasting, meditating?
        Other material may or may not be a help – it depends upon the level of understanding the author had at the time and their ability to explain or write. The other issue I see is that the letter or word (logos) can kill but the word (rhema) gives life. Jesus accused the Pharisees of studying the scriptures and making interpretations in their pursuit of life (John 5:39) but totally missing the fact that the Messiah was standing right in front of them. As humans, we all have the capacity to do the same thing – scary huh?

        • Jonathan February 1, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

          Including the spiritual disciplines in one’s life must be in the context of following Christ (Luke 9:23) not puffing oneself up. Its impossible to follow Christ if you’re actually following something created in your own image.

          This is why I pointed to 2 Corinthians 3:18. We tend to become like that which we behold.

        • Miguel February 2, 2013 at 8:09 am #

          Rob,

          It’s good to see you here brother. Thanks for commenting. I’ve written before, but will restate it here concerning the common misconceptions regarding the words logos and rhema. There is no reason for us to speak of rhema as the spoken word of God, and of logos as the written word of God. Both have the potential to be used in either way. A simple, yet somewhat exhaustive word search of these two words in their contexts will reveal that they are practically synonymous. Here are some examples:

          Matthew 26:75 And Peter remembered the word (4487 – rhema) of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

          Mark 14:72 And Peter called to mind the word (4487- rhema) that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.

          Luke 22:61 And Peter remembered the word (3056 – logos) of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

          Same account, different authors different words. 2 use Rhema, 1 logos

          Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word (4487 – rhema) of God:

          Hebrews 4:12 For the word (3056 – logos) of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

          Ephesians 6:17 and Hebrews 4:12 both describe the word of God as a sword, but Ephesians uses the Greek word “rhema” for the “word” of God, while Hebrews uses the Greek word “logos” for the “word” of God. Should we assume that there are two different “swords” of God’s word, one that is a rhema word and one that is a logos word? No, the obvious answer is that it’s the same sword being described in both cases and that the words “rhema” and “logos” are not distinct enough to justify creating two different categories of the word of God.

          My Favorite:

          John 6:60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying (3056 – logos); who can hear it? 61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words (4487 – rhema) that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words (4487 – rhema) of eternal life.

          Lastly, and there are many others:

          Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words (4487 rhema), the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word (3056 logos).

          All that aside, you’ve made me curious about the phrase “spiritual disciplines.” I wonder How those would be summed up and laid out in some sort of consensus for the purpose of disciple making.

          • Rob Kampen February 2, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

            Thanks Miguel, I note the “sameness” and have no problem with that – my thought really relates to the difference of a quickened word – a verse that I have read many times but suddenly it grabs me in a whole new way, or I see it in a new light.
            We need the revelation aspect of the word to reveal things to us that need our attention – thus we can bring ourselves into alignment with what God says and thinks about things – this requires acceptance, honesty, confession, forgiveness, repentance etc. – I guess we can call these spiritual disciplines too…..

      • Miguel February 2, 2013 at 8:15 am #

        I’m glad that you mentioned 2 Corinthians 3:18. To that I’d like to add Romans 12:2 “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

    3. Rob Kampen February 1, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

      Unless the Lord builds the house, we labour in vain – I see this as applying to all aspects of the building of His church (singular) – the body or bride to be. Thus while we are told to go out and make disciples, it must be led and influenced by the Spirit of God and by His power, not our own strength or program. This is why I seldom read theology books, and only then after I have searched the scriptures and prayed and meditated upon the issue or topic. I have been influenced by men’s preaching and by what sounds reasonable, but in recent years have had to re-adjust my thinking as God has confronted me and then opened further scriptures up to me. He has given me the choice to follow what He has said in His word rather than what my peers or my culture may believe.
      Bumble (above) refers to the process, and I suspect this is closer to the meaning of “make disciples” – it is a continual process – we are never done – we all need to grow further and mature into the character and nature of Jesus. Thus the incessant need for being led by or walking in the Spirit.

    4. Alexa February 1, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

      The moral of the story seems to be that the little guy only needed one tool to do any job that he would ever have to do. He carried it everywhere with him, strapped close to his side, because his ‘sword’ was all he ever needed, no matter where he was or what situation he would ever encounter.

      His tool was more effective than any tool he could have used to complete the various tasks because he had mastered the use of it. Is it possible, that in discipling, we have a ‘bag of tools’ that we don’t use very efficiently or effectively? But if we were to wield the ‘sword of the Spirit’ (Eph. 6:17) like this guy, maybe we’d have different results.

      • Miguel February 2, 2013 at 8:18 am #

        Thanks for commenting Alexa,

        It’s interesting, to me at least, how folks from different perspectives come at these sort of challenges. Frankly, I don’t know why, exactly, the lord put this little story in my head to share with others and meditate on for myself, but it has me thinking. I’ll have some more thoughts to add after a few more folks have had the chance to comment.

    5. Sam Buick February 2, 2013 at 4:02 am #

      My journey in disciple making has led me away from tools and programs, to actual life engagement and encounters with people. It is not head knowledge, or the right doctrine/dogma or whatever creed you hold, or the memorization of Scripture, or any of that. Our sole role in disciplemaking, is to model Jesus and live out Jesus for other disciples. To model intimacy with the Father, hearing the voice of the Father, and then doing what the Father says by the power of the Holy Spirit – literally living out John 5:19. That is it. When we impart, teach, live out walking with Jesus in this way, we have made a disciple for life. For in so doing the person will journey with God 24/7 and the Holy Spirit will teach and guide and explain Scripture and what is important in a more effective and better way than we could ever hope to accomplish on our own. We belong to Jesus, so let’s follow how He made disciples. His apostles did it, and Paul did it. So can we.

      • Miguel February 2, 2013 at 8:23 am #

        Thanks for the comment Sam,

        I suppose it’s in how one defines tools and programs. Jesus spoke of implements and implementing often. I suppose that tools/implements and programs/implementation could be synonymous, but I wouldn’t stretch it too far.

        Also, when it come to programs, sometimes folks simply mean structure, strategy, or even system. As long as we’re not married to any of them, we might consider their usefulness.

    6. Geoffrey Harris February 2, 2013 at 4:36 am #

      Tools are only a resource that may compliment the wisdom and knowledge needed for how to use them.

    7. Rose February 3, 2013 at 11:07 am #

      Very interesting parable. Right, the question is what really matters “What tools are used as long as the job is done?” Something to ponder on.

    8. Charles February 3, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

      Great story. Here is my prospective for what it is worth. A common problem as I see it when it comes to discipleship and the end result is what I have termed (borrowed the word) franchising. If you are not familiar with franchising you are familiar with McDonald’s or Starbucks, they are franchises – individually owned but corporately supervised so they can maintain a certain level of compliance that best represent the corporation or brand. I think all too often when it comes to discipleship, those who disciple have a franchise / brand mentality. They want the end product to have some sense of resemblance to the values they hold and believe important. I.e. like the Chef who felt it was important for his apprentice to do things a certain way that to some degree would be a reflection upon him. And here is where I believe we have the ability to miss it. My responsibility in discipleship is to help bring people into a vibrant and living relationship with Jesus Christ their savior. What that looks like in their lives and the journey they are on to get there is totally different and unique from mine or anyone else’s. If I am going to be involved in discipling someone, it is not about me it is about them. How can I come along side of them and help them to discover who they are in God and what their personal gifting, calling and purposes are in Him. If I have the ability to pass anything along it is not a method or a discipline or some other external thing. It needs to be my faith in God and His ability to lead me and His ability to lead them where He desires for them to be. It really is about the journey and not the destination. None of my children (physical or spiritual) are going to be a exact clone or replicate of me. But if i am continually trying to get them “riding with / for the brand” it can cause frustration, discouragement and disappointment on / with all parties. They may definitely have some of my qualities, values, manners etc. But my responsibility as I see it is to help them find who they are in God. I give them the tools and show them how to use them but what they do with them or what they build is up to them. These are just my thoughts and my prospective.

      • Rob Kampen February 3, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

        Thanks for sharing that Charles – that echoes my thoughts too – discipleship is about pointing people at Jesus and His word and helping them discover the skills they need to pursue Him for themselves and find His specific purpose and path for them. ie we need to do ourselves out of a job (at least as far as any individual is concerned).
        The most eloquent way this can be done is by demonstration – living and modelling the living power of the Holy Spirit, day by day, moment by moment.
        On occasions, when all else fails use words.
        This then requires us to live open lives – transparent – and yes this makes us vulnerable, however I believe from my reading of the gospels. that is how Jesus lived his life.
        Knowing this and actually doing it, is something I am still working towards.

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