The Work and Fruit of a Disciple
Many Christian people still find it difficult to summarize why Jesus Christ came to earth. He didn’t come here to have fun and or to have taste if what was like being on earth. He came for very serious business. In particular, Jesus came to do three main things:
- To preach/proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom and get people into this kingdom.
- To teach about how to live life in this new kingdom.
- To heal and restore peoples health and grant them wholeness.
Everything that Jesus did throughout his ministry revolved around men- around human well-being. Things – money, goods, etc. – were mainly a means to an end, but the end was men – or human beings.
When he began to call disciples to himself, he said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”.
Jesus came to fish men. He called disciples to join him in the business of fishing for men.
A disciple is the one called and willingly follows in the footsteps of his/her master.
The primary work/job of a disciple is to fish for men. How does the disciple do this? By preaching, teaching and healing.
There are different ways to catch a fish – to catch men. There are different ways to preach, to teach, and to heal people. The totality of the work of a disciple is summarized in three things: to preach, to teach, and to heal.
To work this work or to deliver on this job, a disciple needs grace. Grace is simply God’s ability given to us to do what we cannot do on our own. Every disciple has received a measure of grace to enable him/her to deliver on this job, at a threshold level – minimal level. It is written “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ”. Eph. 4:7
By this grace, every disciple can preach the gospel of the Kingdom, just as Jesus preached; can teach about this kingdom, and heal the sick in body and soul with the word of God, through the given grace of God. However, some other disciples are given extra measures of grace to do much more in some of those three areas of preaching, teaching and healing. This is also as the Lord decides.
Every work of a disciple should revolve around these three: preach, teach and heal. This is our primary job description. Every other thing we do as disciples must be purposed to align to this primary job description.
The Fruit of a Disciple
The primary fruit of a disciple or the outcome of the work of a disciple is human beings – the fish caught – who are saved, taught in the principles of the kingdom, and are healed in and living in wholeness.
In order words, the fruit of disciples are saved, well-taught, healthy human beings.
When Jesus comes to evaluate your work as a disciple, the basis for his evaluation in on how many people were saved, were properly taught, and were healed through you.
It is possible and natural that in the process of your discipleship work, you could acquire things- money, houses, cars, property, etc. These are good, but they will not form the basis for the evaluation of your discipleship effectiveness.
The acquisition of things could only be useful or relevant if they are used for the purpose of preaching to more people, teaching more people and getting more people healed.
The acquisition or non-acquisition of things is not the proof of a fruitful discipleship work.
It is important to clarify this point because in the world we live today; people are respected based on their acquisitions, not on the fruits of their discipleship. Many of those who haven’t acquired things are often despise and disdained in society, which makes them discouraged. The response is that they begin to make acquisitions the primary purpose of ministry in order to be reckoned with.
But we must know that God’s standard of evaluation and recognition of you as a disciple is not the same the standard of society or the world. That is why Paul wrote:
“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And the base things of the world, and the things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are. That no flesh should glory in his presence” 1 Corinthians 2:27-29.
As a disciple of Jesus Christ, you must remember what your primary job description is and do your best to stick with it. You should know that the fruit of your discipleship is human beings. Everything you must revolve around building up human beings according to the expectation of Jesus, your Master. Although it is good to acquire things in your discipleship journey, you should never allow the non-acquisitions of them to discourage you. The terms of evaluation of your discipleship assignment on earth is clear; things are not part of it.
May the Lord grant you more grace to deliver on your assignment: to preach, to teach and to heal.
Joseph C. Ibekwe
Graced Family Chapel