I have heard people say that the way you spell LOVE is T-I-M-E. Regardless of where anyone falls on the economic spectrum, we can all agree that time is a commodity. Whereas money seems to be the currency for which we strive in our day-to-day economies, in God’s economy, the currency of time is ultimately what we spend or save. “Rich” people try to make more money so they can buy more time, and “poor” people sell their time so they can make more money.
While the quality and the quantity of time are both important, I would say another element that is needed to love like Jesus in discipleship is PROXIMITY. If time were the “dollars” in God’s currency, proximity would be the “portfolio” where we invest. When handled wisely, we will yield an increase.
Jesus modeled this for us in the way he trained his disciples. He spent his time by walking closely with them. He sat around a table with them as he fed them. He taught them how to pray. He cried with them. He washed their feet. He basically did everything with them. They were literally COVERED IN HIS DUST. Because of the way Jesus invested in his disciples, the only conclusion they could come to was that he loved them, and the only result possible was transformation. His method is still applicable today.
Here are some ways we can practice the spending of God’s currency of proximity and time that will yield dividends in our own disciple making:
- Redefine your “schedule” – In the great commission in Matthew 28, Jesus tells us to “go.” Upon further examination of the word “go” in the original Greek, one can make the argument that a more accurate translation would be “As you are going…”. Therefore, it is not enough only to block out time in your schedule for discipleship. Discipleship should be the “paper” on which your schedule is written. Look at the things you are already doing (where you are “going”) and weave discipleship into it. Do you eat lunch every day already? Invite someone with you and share your time and space with them in the moments you already have. There may be areas of your life that are wasteful and may need to be sacrificed to create more margin, but there are already places within your dominion that you can already be intentional that will not feel like a loss.
- Physically meet others where they are – Go to their workplace, take them to lunch, go to their houses. This works better in getting men or women to engage than asking them to “come to church.” According to Luke’s gospel, Jesus was IN THE BOAT when he called Simon Peter, James, and John to discipleship (Luke 5:3-10). We must also get “in the boat” and start rowing with those God puts on our path.
- Use intentional language – Imagine being Zacchaeus climbing up a tree just so he could get a glimpse of Jesus as is told in Luke 19:1-10. When the Master arrives to the spot where he is in the tree, Jesus tells him to come down immediately because he “must” stay at Zacchaeus’ house that day. Zacchaeus had to have known in an instant that Jesus meant business. Jesus leveraged time by establishing the intentionality of the relationship from the beginning, and as a result, “salvation” came upon Zacchaeus’ house.
We don’t have to read very far in the Old or New Testaments to see that God expects us to multiply with whatever he has given us (Genesis 1:28/Matthew 25:14-20). Jesus tells us the odds are in our favor because the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few (Matthew 9:35-38). Like all ventures, there is an assumption of risk, which weeds out those who are not committed; however, it seems like the only way we “lose” in God’s economy is by not leveraging what he gave us according to the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:26-30). God has given us all time and opportunities for relationships. Investing our TIME and PROXIMITY in others is a sure thing… GO “ALL-IN.”
The Kingdom always wins…
By David Nelson, Men’s Pastor
Real Life Ministries Texas