How does a master craftsman/woman become “master”? How does a world champion become a world champion? How does the best Nana in the world become that? How does anyone become “the best” there is?
I hear that certain “master” standard skills are dying out. They are not being learned by apprentices. No “grasshoppers” are coming through the long learning process. And yet every time I see or hear such a news item – the “master” whatever is never downbeat. A master whatever never seems downbeat about the future. And I wonder why.
“Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John came; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. Let anyone with ears listen!’” Matthew 11:11-15
I have no idea if John was a master anything. I guess John didn’t either. John just did what John just did. But he seemed to raise quite a stir. Apprentices attached themselves to him – John’s disciples.
Jesus didn’t seem to rate John much either: “… the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” I don’t see John networking with the hierarchy much. I don’t see Jesus networking with the hierarchy much. And as for the future? Jesus didn’t seem fazed by the future and bums on seats. That beautiful verse comes to mind (after a certain teaching) … “and many went home.” Not for them being a master disciple.
Or was it? I am at home. You are at home.
And Sundays are only a Performance Day. Much like a football team perform on Saturday, so too Sunday Church. For many it is the reason for being a Christian: making Sunday successful … being the best team in town.
Being a master anything is a solo activity.
“Let anyone with ears listen!” is a solo activity. My ears. My hearing. My brain. My decision. My changes. My living all seven days of the week each week. My becoming a master anything is a solo activity HELPED by fellowship – not instead of.
I wonder if we prefer being a spectator (without calling ourselves that). To criticise when “we” are not performing. To wear “our” glory when “we” are. To pay for our seat and watch what it’s spent on each week. Or else why do big congregations attract interest and why do charismatic preachers attract fans – none of which is becoming a master disciple.
This Christmas is again the spectator sport of baby watching. It is encouraged – as is Lent and Easter and attending every Sunday. But becoming a “master” disciple”?
“My job is Sunday and preaching and making disciples.”
That ambiguity never seems to trouble very many.
Which I find odd.