Time: Why don’t we make disciples like Jesus made disciples?

By Dave Swan

A recurring theme seems to present itself as I ask this question : “We don’t have enough time!” When we look back and consider the relationship Jesus had with his disciples – we get the picture that they spent lots of time together – eating, travelling, teaching, healing, getting away together, prayer and just hanging out together with people they met.

Life, we say, is not like that now – we have jobs, family commitments, bills to pay, obligations to fulfil – “our time is not our own!” – but is that true?

One thing is certainly true – we have exactly the same amount of time as the early disciples – 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week!  The difference is how we choose to spend that time and prioritise it.  It could be argued that we have even more choice in what to do with our time, as increased prosperity brings increased choice.  Maybe it’s that our choices now are so many and so complex, and every new choice we make closes down other choices – so that in order to decide to make discipleship a priority, it means we need to ‘undo’ a lot of choices and live quite radically different lives.  Time – what a precious gift! – but somehow it is stolen, somehow we live in  a reactive way – responding to the next demand.  “Oh Lord I have always dreamt of… “  Is it time to be proactive, and take back some control?

Are we children of our society or children of the kingdom?  And how much can we, or should we, live in both?    Our society values work commitments, earning and paying your own way, house ownership (or at least settled long term housing) and keeping up mortgage repayments, that maintains a certain lifestyle.

Does this squeeze out the time needed to be a radical disciple of Jesus?

‘Don’t be ridiculous’ you say, are you saying ‘I must sell up, live as a nomad, not have security for my family?’  Well, I hear you, my reaction is the same!! – but the challenge is that the disciples left everything to follow Jesus (Luke 5:11 as Jesus calls them; Mark 10:28 in response to Jesus telling the rich young man to sell all he had)- it was probably just as radical then!  Do we think that our prosperity and sophistication means we can be less radical?, or is the fact that we have been given more mean that much more is expected of us? Luke 12:48

1 Cor 4:7  – What do you have that you did not receive?  In the matter of time, we have been given it as a very precious gift from God – why do we act as if most of it is our own, and only a proportion belongs to God?

Have you been to a funeral recently?  It’s a stark reminder that the gift of time is finite! The constant challenge is what are we going to do with the precious and finite gift that has been given to us?  Security in the world, or Kingdom riches?  Just how radical is the Spirit daring us to be?

I would love you to share your thoughts and experiences regarding your struggles, and wisdom in decision making, around priorities and use of time.  Please join the conversation.

Grace and Peace

David Swan


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