One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of His disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch Him, because power was coming from Him and healing them all. Luke 6:12-19
“The word discipleship and the word discipline are the same word — that has always fascinated me. Once you have made the choice to say, “Yes, I want to follow Jesus,” the question is, “What disciplines will help me remain faithful to that choice?” If we want to be disciples of Jesus, we have to live a disciplined life…
The word discipline means “the effort to create some space in which God can act.” Discipline means to prevent everything in your life from being filled up. Discipline means that somewhere you’re not occupied, and certainly not preoccupied. In the spiritual life, discipline means to create that space in which something can happen that you hadn’t planned or counted on.
I think three disciplines are important for us to remain faithful, so we not only become disciples, but also remain disciples. These disciplines are contained in one passage from Scripture with which we’re familiar, but one that we may be surprised to find speaks about discipline…[Today’s Scripture] is a beautiful story that moves from night to morning to afternoon. Jesus spent the night in solitude with God. In the morning, he gathered his apostles around him and formed community. In the afternoon, with his apostles, he went out and preached the Word and healed the sick.
Notice the order—from solitude to community to ministry. The night is for solitude; the morning for community; the afternoon for ministry. So often in ministry, I have wanted to do it by myself. If it didn’t work, I went to others and said, “Please!” searching for a community to help me. If that didn’t work, maybe I’d start praying.
But the order that Jesus teaches us is the reverse. It begins by being with God in solitude; then it creates a fellowship, a community of people with whom the mission is being lived; and finally this community goes out together to heal and to proclaim good news.
I believe you can look at solitude, community, and ministry as three disciplines by which we create space for God. If we create space in which God can act and speak, something surprising will happen. You and I are called to these disciplines if we want to be disciples.”
Henri Nouwen in Community, edited by Stephen Lazarus (Orbis, 2021) excerpts from chapter 1.
I hope you appreciated this reading. If our living, giving, serving, and loving flows from solitude to community to ministry, we will surely dispense the power, blessing, and abundance of Christ with rich generosity.
Think about this as it relates to your life in the three areas. What does solitude look like for you? Do you have an intimate prayer life that propels you to community. I find that the Lectio 365 app helps me with this daily.
How about the discipline of community? It is easy for us (myself included) to work alone. This results in personal isolation and growth comes by addition. The example of Jesus causes our service to bless others and grow by multiplication.
Lastly, reflect on the discipline of ministry. Notice power came from Jesus because He tapped into the Father in solitude first. Are you tapped out or tapped to the Father? Attuning to this will ensure our generous service.Read more