During an interview at The Master’s Seminary in 2013, Paul Washer offered an insightful perspective as to how missionaries should view their lives – it’s applicable to every Christian [at 1:20:39]:
Here’s what I want you to see. Every person is like a bunch of links of chain, alright. And they could be a really long and powerful chain, but they’re broken-up here and here and here and here. If I spend, like I did with two guys from – one guy from Australia and one guy from New Zealand, today. I just had an hour with them. But in that one hour, I maybe put one link that put two segments together.
That’s the way I want you to see your life…. Because it’s amazing, if you’re willing to pour your life out with the truth that’s been poured in you, God will use you. He’ll use you mightily. Do that. Do that.
Washer’s metaphor of people as broken chain-link is not without biblical precedent. When Paul says that God has given ministers to “equip the saints” (Eph 4:12), the Greek word for “equip” (καταρτισμός) has the idea of “repair” – the related verb is used of Jesus’ disciples “mending their nets” (see Matt 4:21). In other words, God has given us truth-speaking for men-mending (Eph 4:11-15).
But what he hits on is the main issue in discipleship for the Church, today. I do not believe the main issue in the spread of the Gospel and the growth of the Church, whether spiritually or numerically, is that Christians should just “do more.” Rather the great hindrance to the growth of our ministry is we think far too little of what we can do.
If every encounter in the course of our daily lives was prayerfully entered as an opportunity to join a couple links of chain together – or mending a hole in the net – how much stronger, vibrant, powerful, and bigger would the Church be?
Seriously, if you see your life this way, God will use you and the Gospel will continue to bear fruit and grow in the world (Col 1:5-6). Do not spend as much time worrying about what you’re not doing, as much as doing what you can.
NB, If you’re unsure as to how to view your daily schedule through this lens of discipleship, be sure to check-out Jonathan Leeman’s A Discipler’s Daily Itinerary for some practical tips.