I am eight months into teaching a fifteen-year-old how to drive. That’s right. In four months, yours truly will have a third driver in the house. This, of course, assumes I haven’t killed him, or prevented him from taking his driver’s test until he’s 38.
To say I have learned a lot from this life experiment is a gross understatement. But I have been surprised how teaching Luke how to drive has revealed to me realities about Christian discipleship. See if you don’t agree. Consider these parallels.
First, if he doesn’t learn he will never launch.
What I mean, of course, is that if Luke never learns how to drive, he will be stuck at home. If he cannot learn to drive in this society, in this country, in this environment – he will not thrive or have the capability to pursue what he desires. Driving, however, opens up a world of possibilities. Same with discipling another believer. If someone comes to faith in Jesus, but is never taught the ways of Jesus and how to follow Him in this culture – he or she will be stuck.
Second, all I do is share what I know and do.
Fun fact: I have never received a degree in driving. I took a driver’s ed class in high school, but it was a joke. I read the small booklet required for the permit. That’s all the “formal” driving education I received. For eight months now, however, I have been teaching my son how to drive. How? By telling him what I know and what I’ve learned along the way. He has never asked to see my degree on driving (I don’t have one). He hasn’t even asked to see my driver’s license! He trusts me (some of the time – grin) to share with him what I know. Same with discipling another believer. No degrees required. No Bible certificate necessary. Simply tell someone what you have learned/are learning and help them navigate life as it comes.
Third, the need fell into my lap.
Teaching Luke how to drive was not something I had to go looking for. It just happened. He turned 15. He wanted to drive when he turned 16. He needed someone (a parent) to help him learn. What do you do when you need help learning? Find someone who has been doing it a while. Are you looking for someone to disciple? Open your eyes. Who is new at this? Or, who has been a “Christian” for a while but has had no one to show them how? Perhaps you need to be discipled. Who has been at it a while that you admire or respect? Ask them. It’s not hard.
Fourth, I have to give up control.
There are no brake pedals on the passenger side of my car. They may be present in driver’s ed vehicles, but not the one I drive. My feet have cramped from stomping onto the floor board. My knuckles have whitened from gripping the handle on the car door. My voice has been hoarse from yelling. And I’ve seen my life flash before my eyes 26 times in recent weeks. Things are improving, yes. But we still have our moments. Never is my desire to be in control put more on display than when I am in the passenger side of the car. Luke doesn’t do everything the way I wish he would. But that’s okay. He’s not me. In discipleship, the one we are helping is not us. They will do things differently. They will say things awkwardly (to our ears, anyway). But that’s okay. Let them be who Jesus is making them to be.
At the end of the day, when it comes to teaching how to drive, we want those under our care to get from point A to point B as safe and efficiently as possible. It really does boil down to that. If you think about it, when it comes to discipleship, what we really want is those under our care to follow Jesus. To get from where they are to where He is leading them in a healthy, biblical way. It really does boil down to that. Let’s all take a deep breath. Let’s take our right foot off the pedal that isn’t there. And let’s help others get where they are created to go.