Part 3: Guarding Our Hearts as We Make Disciples

We must guard our hearts against greed when we are investing in the lives of others. 

1 Peter 5:2 “…not greedy for money, but eager to serve.”

Peter tells us to avoid loving and shepherding people out of a selfish desire for money. A friend of mine has told me more than once that  “disciple making is no cash cow.” That is very true.  Greed for money is not the issue for me when it comes to investing in people’s lives.  But, greed has more faces than just cash. Greed can be defined as an intense selfish desire. Greed is dangerous. When selfish desire is the motive and the “rewards” of greed come, they can become addictive because they inflate our ego, and give us a dangerous desire for more. Even worse, when selfish desire becomes the motive of our investment in others, the “other” is reduced from a person to be loved to a means to an end.

They become objects. 

Once an object no longer fulfills its purpose it is thrown aside. When people are objectified and no longer satisfy our selfish desires, they can be “thrown aside” and left with a sense of abandonment or confusion.

They will be damaged.

This kind of greed driven disciple making is in line with what Paul warned us against in Philippians 2:3 when he said, “do nothing from selfish ambition”. Instead, there should be an eagerness in our hearts to be selfless, sacrificing our selfish ambition so that Christ can be formed on others.  We are to be eager servants. This is seen in Paul’s 2nd letter to the church at Corinth when he wrote,  “So death is at work in us, but life in you…For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving to the glory of God.”  In 1 Thess 2:5-6, he wrote, “ You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else..”

Paul never served for the sake of his own gain but willingly chose to lay down his pursuit of gain so that God would be glorified in the ones he was discipling. Jesus said it best in John 15:13, No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends.”

Discipleship always looks to help the other person grow as a follower of Jesus for the sake of the Kingdom. We help them grow closer to Jesus. We help them discover what God is doing in their life and then being committed to His movement in their life. We love them. We sacrifice for them. We get out of the way. 

Here are a few things that I pray to guard my heart against greed – selfish ambition. 

I Pray to Be…

1. Humble – Proud people are about themselves. Humble people are about others.

2. Secure – Secure people can help others succeed because they know that if the one they are discipling surpasses them it does not diminish their own value

3. A Listener – Developing the skill of listening to the one you are discipling rather than always being the one talking, opens the door to more clearly hear the voice of the Spirit.

4. Teachable – To help others succeed you must be willing to learn and freely give away all that you know. 

5. Committed – Those you are discipling need someone to be committed to the movement of God in their life. They need you to be willing to walk with them as far as you can.

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