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FOCUS ON A FEW

July 20, 2009

One of the most fruitful ways to encourage people to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ is to use the same patterns of ministry Jesus used. For example....

One of the most fruitful ways to encourage people to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ is to use the same patterns of ministry Jesus used.

For example, Jesus loved the many while he focused on a few. He loved the many as he spoke to large groups of people and as he was open to the random individuals who sought his help such as: blind Bartimaeus, Nicodemus and a Canaanite woman.

At the same time, Jesus focused on a few by giving more of himself to a few people – the twelve apostles, Mary, Martha and Lazarus, Mary, Johanna, Suzanna, Mathias and Justus, the Seventy he sent two by two and so on. In fact, Jesus loved the many with his few – so when he fed the 5000 or felt compassion because people were harassed and helpless, the Twelve were with him – watching him, learning from him, serving with him.

Ask yourself, “Who are my few? Who are the people I am consciously seeking to develop in faith and followership of our Lord? Whom am I giving more of myself to and involving them “with me” in my ministry?

Such people include those who live in your home, friends and those close to you in Christian fellowship and in other contexts as well as those whom our Lord leads into your life.

Using the pattern of Jesus, it is not enough to simply to be able to name your “few.”

Jesus’ pattern suggests taking deliberate action to encourage their growth in faith and followership.
• Do you invite them to be “with” you (The “with-me” Principle) – in a small group Bible study?
• With you when you visit those who are ill or in a difficult place?
• With you when you attend a Christian growth event?
• With you in life and leisure – just to grow in friendship with one another?

In our manic busy lives we rocket from meeting to meeting, activity to activity with different people and make no conscious effort to involve others to be “with” us or for our encouragement for being with them.

Spend some time praying about this. Jesus prayed all night before calling his disciples to be the Twelve (Luke 6:12). Ask your Lord the question, “Out of all of the “many” in my life, who would You have me focus on as my “few?”

As you begin to consciously focus on a few while loving the many in your life you will witness the Spirit working a new level of life-changing ministry through you!

With joy – E. Stanley Ott
For more on the “with-me” principle see The Joy of Discipling