It's the first day of class. As students enter the classroom, some are catching up with one another, while others are scurrying about looking for the perfect seat. As the professor moves towards the front of the class, students begin to take their seats. Because this class has never been offered before, everyone is interested in learning more about it.
After welcoming them, the professor dives into a thorough overview of all that will be covered throughout the semester. He provides each person with a handout of his lecture topics, along with what books will be required reading.
To the delight of the entire class, he also communicates in his opening presentation that there will be no pop quizzes, no weekly tests, no research papers, and no mid-term exam! Once the volume of the sudden mass frenzy dies down, he goes on saying,
"I want you to get everything you possibly can out of my class, so you must listen very carefully to what I am about to say. To do well, you must attend all of my lectures each week and make sure that you read the books I've assigned to you. It is the content contained in these that will be on the final exam on your final day of class. One other thing: I'd like you to find one person outside of this class with whom you'll share what you're learning each week. Do these things well, and I can assure you that you're on your way to receiving a great grade for your work."
Following these words, he dismissed the class--nearly 30 minutes early! Heading out the door, people were heard saint to one another, "What a no-brainer" and "This class will be an easy A." Others were so overjoyed they were spontaneously singing...
Just as the professor had promised, there were no quizzes, tests, or papers that had to be written throughout that entire semester. Most of the students showed up for his three weekly lectures and, on various levels, digested the assigned reading material.
Fast forward to the end of the semester.
During the class prior to the day of the final exam, the professor spent the entire hour rehearsing the key takeaways from the previous fifteen weeks while answering questions along the way. In the concluding moments, he then addressed his students,
"It's been a privilege to teach you this semester. I've done everything I can to help you learn this material. Now, remember on our first day together I asked you to find one person outside of this class with which you would share what you're learning. When you leave here today, please make sure you communicate with that person the time of your final exam so they can be sure to be here. You see, they'll be taking your final exam for you and their grade will be your final grade."
The last words of Jesus in the book of Matthew are:
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20
Obviously, disciple-making is not about "final grades"--but you get the point. The last thing Jesus commissioned His disciples to do was to reproduce what He's invested in them in others, who in turn would do the same.
In the area of making disciple-makers, how are you doing, my friend?