Welcome back to the Discipleship blog series. If you haven’t read the previous posts, you can find them here.
Last time we learned how to impact our neighbourhood and connect with people by Prayer Walking.
This week we will learn about the Person of Peace.
In an earlier session you were introduced to the idea of a Person of Peace. In this session we'll go into more detail about who that person might be and how to know when you've found one. A Person of Peace can help rapidly reproduce disciple-making even in a place where followers of Jesus are few and far between.
When Jesus sent out His disciples to new territory to make disciples, He gave them a simple but strategic command. This is found in Luke 10:1-9.
Jesus said -- Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; greet no one on the way. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in that same house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house.
But what does all that mean?
When we think of making disciples, our first thought might be -- We better get our finances in order, pick an obvious target, and have a clear plan of action. If Jesus said - “Go”, we better “go” and keep on going! Tell Everyone! Everywhere!! All the time!!!
However, in His instructions, Jesus seemed a lot less worried about finances and fervour, and a lot more concerned about focus.
Jesus wanted His disciples looking for - and investing in - a Person of Peace.
When you want to make disciples in a place where not many - or maybe even any - exist, then looking for a Person of Peace might be the most important thing you do.
A Person of Peace is:
In the Bible, we learn of Jesus and His followers meeting Persons of Peace that are a little - unexpected.
In the region of the Gadarenes, Jesus met a demon-possessed man who lived isolated and in chains. We would never think of Him as a Person of Peace, but He was OPEN to hear from Jesus. He was HOSPITABLE and WELCOMED Jesus to where He lived. He was WELL KNOWN and could easily draw a crowd - even if only for his outrageous behavior.
And Jesus found that he was FAITHFUL and SHARED what Jesus meant to him with his family, his community and his whole country. In fact, when Jesus came back to that area, a great crowd gathered, excited to see the Man they had heard so much about.
In Samaria, Jesus met a woman at a well. She was OPEN to Jesus, willing to be HOSPITABLE and answer His request for a drink. We learn she had had five husbands and was living with still another man, and so in a small town, she was sure to be KNOWN BY OTHERS. And after Jesus spoke to her, she was FAITHFUL and SHARED - so much and so quickly that the entire town asked Jesus to stay and share with them, too. And He did.
So, if a Person of Peace can live almost anywhere, do almost anything, and be almost anyone we know or meet - how do we find one?
Here are three simple ways --
We ASK for recommendations from people in the community - Who is someone that is trusted here? Is there someone in this place who thinks of others before themselves? If we hear the same name again and again - we try to meet them, share spiritual ideas, and see if they’re open to hear and share.
We OFFER to pray for someone while Prayer Walking, or at work, or at the game - wherever there is an opportunity - and then turn that prayer into a spiritual conversation.
We INTRODUCE spiritual ideas into every conversation to see if God is working in a person’s life. These are often referred to SHEMA statements. If they are open and willing, then we ask if they would be willing to gather a group to discuss even more.
ASK for recommendations, OFFER to pray, INTRODUCE spiritual ideas. These are all ways we can begin the process of finding a Person of Peace.
And no matter how we find them, remember Jesus said a Person of Peace is someone with whom we should be spending most of our disciple-making time.
It is easy to think that the most “fair” use of our time is to give away a little bit of ourselves to everyone, equally. However, Jesus said - and showed - that He does not want us to be shallow with everyone but to give deeply to a few.
Jesus often attracted crowds, but the Bible tells us repeatedly that Jesus would draw away from those crowds to spend most of His time with just twelve of His closest followers.
There were a number of times, where Jesus would invest even more time with a smaller group of just three.
If Jesus, who had much more power, much more energy, much more authority, discipline, wisdom, knowledge, understanding and compassion chose to spend His time investing deeply in just a few and told His own disciples to do the same, doesn’t it make sense that we should follow and share His perfect pattern?
A Person of Peace.
They’re not easy to find - maybe one in a thousand. But like a hidden treasure that’s worth the search, their value in growing God’s family can’t be measured.