We stopped off to pick up a couple of things. Walking inside, our children scattered in different directions. My husband, Paul, stayed by my side as I gathered what I needed. By the time we made our way to the gift wrap aisle, children were buzzing around us once again. Our youngest was quiet. At eight years old, Samuel normally was a handful-of-chatter. While deciding on a bag of birthday balloons I asked, “Son, you’re awful quiet today…everything okay?”
He looked up at me, “How much does a kid cost?”
I wasn’t sure I’d heard him right. “How much does what cost?”
“How much does a kid cost?” he repeated. “My new friend in class is a foster kid. He doesn’t have a family. Remember, Mom, he came over to play? Do we have enough money to buy him?”
Words caught in my throat. Thankfully, my husband was quick to respond. “Well, I’m not sure if we do, Son. But have you thought this through? If another boy your age lived with us, you’d have to share even more than you do with your brother and sisters now.”
“I don’t care about that, Dad. I feel bad he doesn’t have a family and he really wants one.”
Finding my voice, I asked, “So, how much do you think your friend costs?”
“He doesn’t know, Mom. He said he thinks he’s free, but he’s going to ask his foster family tonight. He’s going to meet me tomorrow at recess to tell me how much he’s worth.”
Samuel’s words stopped me cold.
He’s going to meet me tomorrow at recess and tell me how much he’s worth.
My eyes welled and my throat was thick. While my husband distracted our son, I stepped away to search for a tissue in my purse. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that my son’s young friend was trying to figure out what he was worth.
This child saw our imperfect family and his greatest desire was to belong to someone who would love him. So much so that, for the sake of being loved, he was more than willing to hand his life over to the lowest bidder.
This child is no different from many adults I know. People are lonely and broken . . . and need to know that it’s an owner or creator of a thing that marks their price, and that price was marked for them on Calvary. It’s why discipleship for women is my passion and why I’ll live out the rest of my days as a disciple maker.
Disciple maker, do you know your worth?
How about you? Do you know your value? Do you realize how precious a disciple maker is to the Lord? He says you are the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8), that your worth is far above rubies (Proverb 31:10), that He even knows the number of hairs on your head (Luke 12:7). Those who come alongside His children are precious in His sight. He reminds us in the Gospel of Matthew, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).
Jesus never says, “Whatever you did perfectly you did for me.” Or, “Whatever you did better than most you did for me.” The Lord asks me to lay down my pride, die to self and take on the humility of Jesus. I am to disciple others no matter what my resume says or doesn’t say. A disciple maker of the Lord is of matchless value.
Your worth in God’s eyes makes the Hope Diamond look like a gum ball trinket.
Habits, Hearts and Hands
I’ve been in women’s ministry for over twenty years now. This isn’t my first rodeo. Gathering for weekly Bible studies is a great thing, but making deep connections in a group is difficult. Through discipleship relationships grow closer a lot quicker. I’ve come to believe that “women’s ministry” can become a church entitlement program. How we’ve been doing it for years, oftentimes encourages a consumer Christian mentality: “My needs must be met by the just the right Bible studies, the best decorated Christmas tea’s, women’s conference…” and whatever else we hope will keep them coming.
To minister means to serve, and while that’s what the Lord teaches us to do, serving others without discipleship first can breed entitled, spoon-fed women. Do you want to see true servanthood happen in your church? Do you want women to disciple women? Begin transforming your women’s ministry into women’s discipleship.
When I disciple women, it’s personal. Personal accountability is key. This means I can’t just run in and run out without truly listening and engaging in their lives. I use a simple three-step plan to disciple women. It begins with holy habits that transform hearts and ends with hands that serve.
- Habits: We read through the Bible in a year. I encourage a simple daily habit of being in the word and praying for one another each week.
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2).
- Hearts: We memorize a weekly scripture, and to be completely transparent here, some weeks are definitely easier than others. But we don’t give up. I’m not looking for perfection. I want a woman who perseveres. There’s a heart transformation when the word is memorized and sinks deep into a woman’s heart.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).
- Hands: By the time we’re done, God’s word moves from her head to her heart and finally to her hands in service. Through discipleship, women are encouraged to use their gifts and disciple others. I don’t have to beg any of the women I disciple to lend a hand. Each time I disciple, they grow and go quickly into serving, with discipleship always on their radar.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10).
Do You Know Your Worth as a Disciple maker?
When I recall the look on my son’s face, when he asked how much his friend cost, I ache. What pain the Lord must feel when we see our lives as worthless or of little value. People who feel worthless are all around us. They need me and they need you. They need disciple makers who know their worth.
I made a phone call to this young boy’s foster parents when we got back from the store. I introduced myself and set up a time to meet his foster mom and let our boys play together again. Days later, amidst slides and swings, I shared her foster son’s struggle to understand his worth and her eyes welled up with tears.
“He’s such a sweet boy, and, he’s really taken to our family. We haven’t told him yet, but we’re moving forward with his adoption.”
Just like us, this child was hand-picked by someone who would love him forever. He would still need to learn how to live in a home with boundaries and new celebrations. He’d need to be taught how to treat his new siblings and parents with honor, love and respect.
He would need to be discipled.
Are you one of those people who need a remedial lesson to understand your worth as a disciple maker? Or, is God’s word enough? The next time you’re exhausted or feel less than able, if you struggle to put a price tag on discipling others–for what it’s worth, you’re worth more.
(For more from Joanne check out her website DiscipleshipforWomen.com)