There comes a time for every parent to let their children grow up and assume their own responsibilities. No parent wants to let their children depend on them for the rest of their lives. Neither do parents want their children to leave prematurely and face the cold world on their own. Jesus knew exactly when and how to let the disciples assume their own duties. The Lord said, "I have brought you glory on the earth, Holy Father by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do." (John 17:4) Christ was able to leave the earth fully confident that He had done a fine job with training the disciples to follow His example. What are some of Christ's secrets for knowing when to let go?
l. Jesus entrusted the disciples to the care of Holy Spirit. It is a great comfort to know that disciples are able to be directed, comforted and corrected by the Spirit of God that lives within them.
2. Responsible Christians are consistently controlled by the Spirit. Scripturally wise people are ready to assume responsibilities for themselves.
3. Jesus knew the disciples were ready to be on their own because He told them to tend His flock. When Jesus met the disciples on the beach following His resurrection, He asked Peter one simple question, "Do you love me?" Peter could not quite bring himself to say, "Yes, Lord you know I love you with an unconditional love. Nevertheless, Jesus said to him, "Feed and tend my sheep." (John 21:15-17)
4. People who take good spiritual care of others are ready for some measure of independence.
5. Jesus knew the disciples were ready when He gave them the great commission. (Matthew 28:19,20) The Lord knew that the disciples possessed the necessary skills, knowledge and motivation to carry out all aspects of His command. His timing was perfect.
6. Jesus had done everything necessary to equip the disciples for ministry. It takes a certain measure of toughness to push the disciples out of the nest and tell them to fly on their own. Yet, Jesus was certain that the disciples had what it took to get the job done.
7. Jesus gave them plenty of examples that the disciples could refer to if they encountered difficulties. Because the disciples had been with Jesus for three years they could simply do what Jesus did and feel certain that His power and truth would find a way out of any problem.
8. Jesus gave the disciples a promise, "Surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt. 28:20) With the assurance of Christ's presence in the person of the Holy Spirit the disciples would never have to feel alone or abandoned.
9. Jesus recognizes that every individual follows God's unique schedule for their development. Some people require more time to train than others. The Lord's timing is always perfect. As we look to Him in prayer and in the study of the word, He will make it clear when it is time for each of our disciples to assume their own responsibilities.
10. Jesus has to urge some more than others to let their disciples go. Some mentors grow so attached to their disciples that it is very hard to severe the link to their students. With full confidence in the Holy Spirit to teach, instruct and provide whatever is lacking, we can entrust them to God and to the word of His grace which is able to build up any disciple.