And [Jesus] went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons.
Disicpleship. How did Jesus do that? I want you to observe something interesting. There is a certain order to how Jesus called his disciples. And this order cannot be reversed.
1. Jesus called them to be with him
2. Jesus sent them out to preach and cast out demons
The first step in our discipleship with Jesus is not about doing, but being. Jesus called these Twelve men to be with him. Spend time with him. Observe him. Learn from him. Build a relationship with him.
After this relationship or communion with Jesus is established, then he releases them for ministry. Many have reversed this order. Many have busied themselves with doing things for Jesus. Preaching, casting out demons, healing. But they lack the most crucial thing – being with Jesus first and foremost.
Why is this being-doing order so important? Because Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Do you believe that? That whatever you accomplish is only because of Jesus? Jesus is the vine that supplies sap, nutrients and energy to us, the branches. No wonder branches lack fruit when disconnected from the vine. No wonder ministries lack lasting fruit when we are disconnected from Jesus!
Even when we disciple someone, let us focus on their being (cultivating their relationship with God), rather than doing (equipping skills). Jesus provided the perfect model for us when he spent time with His Father in prayer even though He was worn out with much ministry. Without this being with Jesus, we simply cannot achieve anything worthwhile for Jesus.