Summary: Let's talk more about the 3 disciples of solitude, community, and ministry (Material adapted from Henri Nouwen in Leadership Journal Spring 1995, article entitled, "Moving from Solitude to Community to Ministry")
Bill Hybels- If we are involved in the marketplace at all, we are trained to believe that time is money. That’s why we talk about managing time, using it efficiently and profitably. Cram more in. Start earlier. Work later. Take work home. Use a laptop on the commuter train. Phone clients while you drive. Check your email while you fly. Schedule breakfasts, lunches and dinners for profit. This is the key to promotion, to compensation increase, to power. Getting caught up in that intense pace can be rewarding! It’s exciting when the adrenaline starts to flow and you get on a roll, when you start racing faster and faster. But it leaves precious little time for quiet moments with God.
The word discipline and the word discipleship are the same words. When we make the choice to follow Jesus, the question is, “What disciplines will help me to be a faithful disciple of Jesus?”
3 disciples are important for us to remain faithful disciples of Jesus. These are in Luke 6.
This outlines for us an important night and day in the life and ministry of Jesus.
1. Jesus spent the night praying to God (Vs. 12)
2. In the morning, Jesus chose 12 of his disciples to be apostles (Vs. 13-16)
3. In the afternoon, Jesus healed the sick and preached the Word. (Vs. 17-49)
Notice the order- from solitude to community to ministry. The night is for solitude, the morning is for community, the afternoon is for ministry. This order is important.
Many times we go in reverse of this order. We start with ministry, we try to do things for God and for others. When we get frustrated, we turn to others and say, “Help, this isn’t working!” When others fail to help us, we think, “Maybe I should start praying.” Backwards!
Jesus teaches us that must begin with prayer, then from there to a community determined to live out God’s mission, then this community goes out together to heal and proclaim good news.
Thesis: Let’s talk more about these 3 disciplines
Solitude (Luke 6:12)
Solitude is being with God and God alone. We find Jesus doing this all the time. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16, NIV. Why is this important?
Notice that here in Luke we find that Jesus was baptized by John. “and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”” Luke 3:22, NIV.
Jesus listened to the voice of His Father. People were applauding him; laughing at him; praising him and rejecting him, shouting “Hosanna!” one minute and “Crucify!” the next. In the midst of all of this Jesus kept in mind that He was the beloved Son of God.
Interesting that many times the people wanted a sign from Jesus to “prove that he was the beloved, prove that he was something and somebody, prove that Jesus was worthy of their time and attention. “The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.”” Mark 8:11, 12, NIV.
Right after his baptism, Satan came and said things like, “Prove you are the beloved, change these stones into bread. Grab some power in this world to make a real difference. Make yourself famous by jumping off the temple and the angels will catch you.” Jesus in essence said, “I don’t have to prove anything. I am the beloved.” He was able to do that because He focused on His Father and He was constantly reminded of this in prayer.
Jesus is the Son of God. Through faith in Jesus we are sons and daughters of God. Jesus is our eldest brother who paid the price for us so that we can be sons and daughters of God. “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,” “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”” Galatians 3:26; 4:6
If we keep this in mind, we can deal with an enormous amount of success as well as an enormous amount of failure without losing our identity, because our identity is that we are beloved of God, sons and daughters of God. Long before we are rejected by some or praised by others- that voice spoke to us, ““This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10, NIV.