Summary: A biblical explanation of why being a follower is not enough. We need to first be disciples of Christ, and then make disciples.
By a show of hands this morning, how many of you have ever played golf? That includes on a course, at the driving range, or even putt putt. Now, how many of you like golf? Trust me, playing golf and enjoying golf do not always go together. I seem to enjoy golf much more when I in my office wishing I was playing than when I am actually playing.
Well my family is a golfing family. I started playing golf at age 8, and when we spent time together growing up it was normally on the golf course. I don’t remember at what age, but somewhere in our teen years my brother Matt and I both surpassed our father in golfing ability. We both played competitively and were relatively decent players. We also developed a good understanding of the golf swing and how it functions. Now fast forward with me several years to 2006.
May of 2006 I had the opportunity to play a great course called Longaberger. It was a business outing and my father had an open spot and invited me to. The course was absolutely beautiful. Not only beautiful, but expensive enough that I was only going to ever play it if someone invited me. So the day before we played my brother and I gave our dad a few tips on his swing because he wasn’t hitting the ball well. At the outing we were partnered with two guys who didn’t know us at all, and we didn’t know them. As we arrived at the first tee, my dad mentioned how much I had helped him with his swing, and that he was hitting the ball much better. I think he may have even used the term fixed, Mike fixed my swing yesterday. Now that immediately put some pressure on me. You see, there is kind of an unspoken rule in golf, you only give advice to someone you can beat on the course. If I am not a better player than you, I don’t try to tell you what you should change in your swing. So by him saying that I had fixed his swing; expectations were created for how well I should play.
No more than five minutes after my dad mentioned me fixing his swing, I attempted to hit my first shot, which was not the best shot I have ever hit. And that is how my day went from then on. I had glimpses of glory, moments when it looked like I had played golf before. But I also had moments when I thought about asking “How many innings are in one of these golf deals anyway?” “Do I need more than one club?”
My lowest point of the day came on a par 3. The pace of play was very slow, and so it was not only my group at the tee box, but the group behind us was present and watching as well. I proceeded to send 3 consecutive balls into the woods on the right side of the hole. After each poor shot, I asked my father to throw me another ball, at which point he would ask, “What are you doing?” I finally had to say, “I’m giving these people a pretty good show.” Well I finally managed to hit the ball in a straight line, and moved on to the next hole.
By the end of the day, our playing partners should have surely been thinking, why is this kid offering to fix his dads swing when he can’t hit the ball straight himself. By the looks of things, I shouldn’t have been teaching anyone how to play golf because it seemed as though I had no clue how to play myself.
Now, we’ll come back to my golf story later, so don’t forget about it. But, I want us to look together today at what is arguably the most important instruction Jesus ever gave. Why do I say that this passage is the most important? I say that because it was his final instruction to the disciples. I can only imagine it was well planned and thought out, and of all the parting words he could have shared, this is what he chose.
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Jesús se acercó entonces a ellos y les dijo: —Se me ha dado toda autoridad en el cielo y en la tierra. Por tanto, vayan y hagan discípulos de todas las *naciones, bautizándolos en el nombre del Padre y del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo, enseñándoles a obedecer todo lo que les he mandado a ustedes. Y les aseguro que estaré con ustedes siempre, hasta el fin del mundo.[a]