Discipling Fat People
By Chris Adsit
In these days of heightened sensitivity, never refer to someone as “fat”. The “politically correct” term is “horizontally gifted”. But when it comes to deciding who to invest your time in as a disciplemaker, forget protocol and look for FAT people; that is, Faithful, Available and Teachable.
Your time is valuable! You have a limited number of hours in a day, and how you invest those hours is crucial. As you ponder who to give your time to, look for these three qualities:
Faithful. In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul admonished Timothy, “The things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Draw a bead on those who are faithful to God and faithful to the commitments they make. Look for those who are eager to “Come to Me…take My yoke upon you and learn from Me…” (Matt. 11:28,29).
Available. Look for people who will either have or make time to be discipled. As Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” Little can be done with someone who is already working eighteen hours a day and can’t even find time for his family or for the Lord. If a person is unwilling or unable to alter his priorities or adjust his schedule to spend time with you, why should you bother?
Teachable. Most of us are poverty-stricken when it comes to time. It’s a foolish extravagance to squander precious time teaching a person something he will never apply or pass on! Its pearls before swine. As Mark Twain once said, “Never undertake to instruct a pig to sing. You’ll only frustrate yourself and annoy the pig.”
There are two notable exceptions to the FAT criteria: those you lead to the Lord and those the Lord clearly directs you to disciple despite their gauntness. In the former, it is vital to remember that newborn babies need time to develop the FAT qualities. Your role with them is to be the “mother”. A mother will expend great energy to be sure her child is fed – regardless how ugly or irresponsible that child might be. She exhibits unconditional love and acceptance, and her need-meeting is on their terms, not hers. Eventually, they need to begin growing FAT, but the good mother will give them some time.
In the second exception, your initial assessment of a person may produce a strong, “Naaaaah.” But be sure to consult the Lord. He might see something you don’t, something not on the surface but in the heart, and He might overrule you. There are many “diamonds in the rough” out there that our sovereign Lord knows all about. With a little chipping, splitting and polishing, they could be dazzling. I can think of eleven terrific examples found in the four Gospels. In fact, two of them wrote Gospels!
Allow your commitment level to parallel those you minister to. If someone exhibits only a casual interest, don’t immediately dive into a consuming one-to-one discipling relationship. Better to involve them in a low-commitment weekly group study first. Gauge their faithfulness to that, and gradually focus in on them as they sharpen their focus on the Lord and demonstrate their spiritual obesity.
Though it may sound harsh, it needs to be said: don’t waste your time on the uncommitted. John the Baptist said that Jesus was going to do some winnowing; the wheat He would put in His barn, but the chaff He would burn up (Matt. 2:12). Focus on the wheat. The chaff will do nothing but drain you physically, emotionally and spiritually. There may come a time when you have to confront an un-FAT-ful disciple and say, “Look, make a decision: be wheat or be chaff. Get serious or get out.” This measure will either blow some debilitating chaff out of your life, or it will score the hull of that wheat grain just enough to stimulate some germination!
Would God say, “There’s more to love with the FAT ones”? Adsit might, but not God! Every child of God is on the receiving end of 100% of God’s love; it’s not performance-based, and neither should our’s be. But when it comes to the strategic decision of who I should invest my time in, I’m keeping my eye peeled for the FATties!
From: www.disciplemakersinternational.org. December 2014.
The above article,’Discipling Fat People’ was written by Chris Adsit. The article was excerpted from www.disciplemakersinternational.org.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, ‘Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.’