I have found this truth to be very real in my life – in my diligent performance of present duties I am engaged with, opens the door down the road for further usefulness and honour. David and Gideon are two examples from the Old Testament that come to mind and Levi and the fishermen (James, John and Peter) were the others from the New Testament.
Coming then into a relationship with others, I have to respect Paul’s teaching methods.
But I, brothers,[a] could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready. – 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 ESV
Discipling others is definitely a face-to-face experience yet I do come into instances where there is a group setting. I had best get to know the group setting first.
The value of what I put into those I disciple matter too.
If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. – 1 Corinthians 3:14-15 ESV
The last part of this is a little bit harder to understand. I believe it is saying that I can mess up my work in discipling others but if my foundation is sure in Jesus, and is built up in faith and holiness, then all my work may be lost but I will not. I found this quote from Dr. Macknight. I am not sure it clears things up, but it attempts in a lengthy fashion to enlighten me a bit.
“Other foundation of God’s temple, no teacher, if he teaches faithfully, can lay, except what is laid by me, which is Jesus, the Christ, promised in the Scriptures. Now if any teacher build on the foundation, Christ, sincere disciples, represented in this similitude by gold, silver, valuable stones; or if he buildeth hypocrites, represented by wood, hay, stubble, every teacher’s disciples shall be made manifest in their true characters; for the day of persecution, which is coming on them, will make every one’s character plain, because it is of such a nature as to be revealed by the fire of persecution: and so that fire, falling on the temple of God, will try every teacher’s disciples, of what sort they are. If the disciples, which any teacher has introduced into the church, endure persecution for the gospel without apostatizing, such a teacher shall receive the reward promised to them who turn others to righteousness, Daniel 12:3. If the disciples of any teacher shall, in time of persecution, fall away, through the want of proper instruction, he will lose his reward; he himself, however, having in general acted sincerely, shall be saved; yet, with such difficulty, as one is saved who runs through a fire.”
What I do know is that the power of God is with me to fill me and make me capable of so much more than I could ever imagine.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. – Psalm 9:10 ESV
So my takeaway is this as I do what I do – one of the defining trait of a disciple is faith. Faith in God will give me the power to become a disciple, and to make more disciples by leading others to faith.