Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

 Discipleship: Calling for Christ Experience

Amos 7: 12-15
Vs 15 : But the Lord took me from my work as a shepherd and ordered me to come and prophesy to his people Israel.
The term Disciple originated from the root word known as discipline which comes from the Latin word discipulus meaning “student, learner, or follower." According to the holy scriptures, the word disciple means a follower of Jesus or one of the twelve Apostles. The term 'Disciple' was used most frequently during Jesus' earthly ministry and during the days of the early church in order to designate one of Jesus' followers. Comparing the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, the word disciple is used for 262 times in the Bible.

Discipleship is not the same as a disciple. It was a deliberate apprenticeship that made the fully formed disciple a living copy of the master. Christian discipleship is the process by which disciples grow in the Lord Jesus Christ and are equipped by the Holy Spirit that resides in their hearts to overcome the pressures and trials of the present life and make them more and more Christlike. There were two discipleship movements were formed. One was the Radical discipleship movement and another was the discipleship movement or shepherding movement. The radical discipleship movement was formed in Zurich, Switzerland in 1527. It means a commitment to the core of Christ, to the core of who and what we are for His glory! Radical discipleship also refers to the Anabaptist Reformation movement. Discipleship Movement" (Shepherding Movement) was an influential and controversial movement within some British and American churches, emerging in the 1970s and early 1980s. It gained a reputation for controlling abusive behavior, with a great deal of emphasis placed upon the importance of obedience to one's own shepherd. The movement was later denounced by several of its founders, although some form of the movement continues today.

Amos was the first prophet in the Bible whose message was recorded at length. Amos was a herdsman or a shepherd before he became a prophet. He lived in the town of Tekoa, Judah. He lived as a man who was more comfortable among hills and dales than on city streets which means he was a man more comfortable in the company of sheep than of people. He was a man who hardly like to live facing the challenges. His life was going happy and easy but Lord didn't want that. He wanted him to experience Lord's unconditional love and unlimited power and mercy. So Lord decided him to make the shepherd of people and not sheep. He became a prophet, not because he found urban lifestyles repulsive, but because God the Almighty called him.    

Amos served as a prophet during the reign of Jeroboam the son of Joash King of Israel. It was a time of great prosperity, notable religious piety, and apparent security. But Amos the prophet saw that prosperity was limited to the wealthy and that it fed on injustice and on the oppression of the poor. Religious observance was insincere Nd security more apparent than real. Amos spoke against “social injustice and religious arrogance” with passion and courage and also preached that God would punish the nation for their sins.  He warned the people of an upcoming disaster in terms of God's judgment for their sins which would destroy the nation completely. 

Vs 12-14: Amaziah then said to Amos, “That's enough, prophet! Go on back to Judah and do your preaching there. Let them pay you for it. Don't prophesy here at Bethel any more. This is the king's place of worship, the national temple". Amos answered, "I am not the kind of prophet who prophesies for pay. I am a herdsman, and I take care of fig trees. "The above verses are the conversation between the prophet Amos and the priest named Amaziah. Amos warned the people regarding God's judgment for their sinful acts. He fearlessly declared about the destruction and death of King Jeroboam at Bethel.  When Amaziah comes to know about this news he tries to stop Amos from preaching and asks him to leave the place and go to his hometown ie Judah. Amaziah also tries to tempt him financially saying preaching in Bethel won't benefit him financially. During those days prophets were given financial benefits for their work just like a business. The true meaning of missionary work ie Christ-centeredness and Service mindedness was hardly implied. Amaziah considered Amos in the category of self-centeredness and business-mindedness. But to the surprise of Amaziah, Amos responds by saying he is not those prophets who preach the message expecting the financial benefits in return instead he is the prophet who considers the God's call very seriously and is ready to serve God and his people sacrificing his self-pleasures, self-desires and self-egoes in order to fulfill God's mission fruitfully as well as completely. 

Vs 15: "But the Lord took me from my work as a shepherd and ordered me to come and prophesy to his people Israel". This verse reflects bout the true meaning of discipleship. The true essence of Christian discipleship is 'EXPERIENCING THE CHRIST'.  Amos was a shepherd before God's call of becoming a prophet to the nation. He was living a very safe zone as well as a happy-go-lucky life. He could have continued living the same life while saying No to God's Call but he didn't instead he said yes to God's call filled up with challenges and started his journey without looking back in order to fulfill God's sacred mission. 

Amos raises a few questions and challenges in front of us through the response that he gave to Amaziah and they are given below:
1. What will be our response if God calls us?
2. Will we be ready to sacrifice our self- pleasures, self-desires, and self-egoes in order to fulfill God's call?
3. Will we make compromises with the wrong and injustice acts or take a stand for the truth fearlessly in order to fulfill God's call?

Thought of the day
God's call can come at any point of time in one's life and the size of the God's call may be small or big but that doesn't matter what matters the most is the courage to say yes to God's call because His call is a journey of an adventurous ride where there will be plenty of hurdles to stop us but during the journey, if our body feels weak or unfit to move further, our awesome God performs and in the end He rewards us with eternal peace and happiness.
Lord help us to witness your call and live the life that you have gifted us as you wish and not as we wish. We submit all our doubts, anxieties and fears to your feet. Please replace them with our strength and help us to fulfill your sacred mission fruitfully. Amen
    Nisha George
W/o Rev. Josemon John
Marthoma Church of Perth, Australia

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