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Why is it so hard to disciple adults?

Thomas Hobbes said, “Life is nasty, brutish, and short.” When we’re born, this is what we’re up against. So early on we begin the quest to minimize pain and maximize pleasure. And we gather around ourselves a nest of things which aid us in our nest quest: cars, houses, credit cards, service …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Thomas Hobbes said, “Life is nasty, brutish, and
short.” When we’re born, this is what
we’re up against. So early on we begin
the quest to minimize pain and maximize pleasure. And we gather around ourselves a nest of
things which aid us in our nest quest: cars, houses, credit cards, service
contracts, clubs, toys and the like. To
support our quest, we make commitments: mortgages, jobs, insurance policies and
so forth.

So when Jesus comes along and says things about nests it
gives a would-be disciple pause:

“Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the
Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” (Luke 9-58).

He went on from there and said some other things
on the same theme:

“Let the dead bury their dead, but you go and proclaim the
kingdom.” (Luke 9:60)

“A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his
possessions.” (Luke 12:15)

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or your
body, what you will wear.” (Luke 12:22)

“Sell your possessions and give to the poor.” (Luke 12:32)

“Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be
my disciple.” (Luke 14:33)

“No servant can serve two masters. You cannot serve God and money.” (Luke 15:13)

The reason it’s so hard to disciple adults is that we adults
have got so much to abandon. Our comfort
zones are so big. We want to serve two masters and we’re caught in a no-man’s
land wanting to take care of just a few more obligations before we can
radically follow our Master. It’s no
coincidence Jesus called out mostly young people. Just look at how comfortable
you’ve made your own nest. How difficult
would it be to leave it?

Comments (3)

  • Being a youth pastor makes that so much easier. You don’t make enough money to make a nest.
    Seriously, though, the struggle my wife and I have in this arena isn’t stuff, but kids. We want them to enjoy the life we enjoyed growing up – the friends, playing sports, holidays with family, etc. It’s difficult to uproot them, or to make them experience the difficulties God might be calling us to. We don’t mind experiencing them ourselves, but it’s hard to ask them to when they’ve had no say in the decisions. Yet we also realize that it’s only through those life circumstances that they’ll learn the value of suffering, depending on God, and spiritual disciplines. I once read a fictional story about a family in China, and how they had to watch their ten year old son make a choice to die with them or not for being a Christian. I’m sure that happens in reality, too. That would be so hard, yet it is so like God to call us to a higher calling then comfort and safety, and not only trust Him that it’s for our best, but that eternity is better than this temporal world.

  • Discipleship….I find it interesting that the youth of today are the ones crying out to be discipled by someone, something, or some belief system. We have the answer, however, we must first deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow Jesus. Then as examples of Jesus’ disciples we can go and do as he commanded “..make disciples of ALL men..” I also find it interesting that discpleship is not an option in Christianity – it is a command and the only way to truly live for Jesus Christ. We must first deny ALL of those things which our lives are being taught by(discipled), pick of the cross of a life we would not have chosen(missions, ministry, serving, etc…), and love Jesus so much that he can take us anywhere, do whatever he wants, and allow whatever circumstances he desires that will further the kingdom and glorify his father in heaven.

  • “It’s no coincidence Jesus called out mostly young people. Just look at how comfortable you’ve made your own nest. How difficult would it be to leave it?”

    This is truth in our lives as well. I am being shown just how much I seek after my own comforts…

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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