Think about a traditional story. It starts with a person and a dream. This person knows they are different and something must be done with this difference to help others, but challenges and obstacles hinder them and they come to need help.
Enter the sage, a mentor who comes alongside our budding hero to ensure they realize their full potential. We’ve seen this over and over again:
- Mr. Miyagi and the Karate Kid
- Cinderella and her fairy godmother
- Gandalf and Frodo
This “supernatural aid” commits to help the young person, and it changes his or her life. But I’d also say that the life change is mutual.
I think the Karate Kid also changed Mr. Miyagi’s life. I think Frodo changed Gandalf’s life, too. Discipleship is mutually beneficial.
In the Bible, even before Jesus’ time, discipleship was the fundamental pattern for life, especially for the people God used.
- Joshua followed Moses.
- Elisha followed Elijah.
- Ruth followed Naomi.
The pattern is so simple. Followers of God form followers of God. But without these necessary interruptions, our lives become predictable, stagnant, even boring.
Nobody gets excited about joining something boring and mundane. Yet the Barna Group found that 68 percent of unbelievers would describe Christians as boring. Jesus was many things, but boring wasn’t one of them.
- Boring people don’t have 5,000 flocking to hear their message.
- Boring people aren’t approached at weddings to make the party better.
- Boring people aren’t crucified for their beliefs.
- Boring people aren’t greeted with palm branch parades when they enter cities.
- Boring people don’t inspire martyrs to give up everything for their cause.
- Boring people don’t change the world.
Our God is not boring! The world altered its calendar and gauged human history by everything before Christ (BC) and after Christ (AD). His life made a mark. His life made a difference. His life was everything but boring.
So if the Christ we follow isn’t boring, why in the world are we?
Growing up, I always thought Christians were nice people; they were just too boring. They lacked angst. They lacked a faith that cost them anything. So when I saw this study, I could totally relate. But I think the situation is worse than it looks. I don’t think Christians are just boring. I think Christians are bored.
I think many older Christians were once born-again Christians and now they’re just bored-again Christians. They’re waiting on the next message, conference or experience that will ignite their faith. Meanwhile, the Great Commission is at their doorstep.
The reality is, we are bored because we are disobedient. I bet painters who don’t paint are bored. I bet dancers who don’t dance are bored. I bet writers who don’t write are bored. And I’m convinced that disciples who don’t disciple are bored.
It reminded me of a story my friend Chad Hennings told me about his dog named DeSoda. When his kids were very young, he got them a puppy. This puppy, like all puppies, had a ton of energy and lacked a lot of wisdom. DeSoda always tried to run away when the door opened, always tried to jump on any stranger who walked in the home, and always barked obnoxiously. Then a decade went by. DeSoda was now an old dog and no longer a young puppy. His energy was gone. His desire for adventure was gone. Heck, he didn’t even care anymore when a stranger walked in the house. He would just lift his head from the mat, give them a nod, and go back to sleep. In dog years, DeSoda was really old. They were pretty sure he was going to die soon.
So the kids, now young teenagers, asked Chad, “Dad! Dad! Can we please get a new dog? DeSoda is so boring now! He never plays with us anymore. He just wants to sit around the house all day.”
Chad conceded and got them a new puppy. And the process repeated itself. Their new puppy, Beau, had a ton of energy and no wisdom. Except one difference was, their puppy Beau had DeSoda to show him the way. Beau and DeSoda became really good friends; they were like peas and carrots. All the puppy passion and energy in Beau would get DeSoda to do things he normally wouldn’t do. DeSoda was playing outside again. He was modeling for Beau where to go to the bathroom. DeSoda was now wrestling with Beau. He had a renewed energy, and the kids could tell.
Chad told me, “The crazy thing is we thought DeSoda was going to die that year. It just wasn’t looking good for him. But he ended up living four more years. And I’m convinced it was because of Beau!” Then he said a profound thing we’ve all heard before but never in this way. He said, “You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but you can give an old dog a new puppy.” I added, “And that new puppy can give an old dog a new purpose.”
I just wonder how many old dogs in the church are bored out of their minds, and their lives would be radically changed if they’d just find a young puppy?
Taken from The Passion Generation by Grant Skeldon. Copyright © 2018 by Grant
Skeldon. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com. All rights