Okay, a question.

Well, first a command from Jesus: “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 28:19–20).

Now, the question. If you were to “go and make disciples” as Jesus instructed (which very few Christians do, unfortunately), what would you teach these people?

I’ll wait.

(Cue Jeopardy jingle.)

Ready? What did you come up with?

Well, to be fair, you didn’t really have enough time, because this is a huge topic. But it’s something I suggest you think seriously about, since we really are told by Jesus to make disciples. We’re talking about everything this disciple would need in order to follow Him, basically a summation of everything that’s taught in the New Testament. Such a teaching would require several volumes of information, without question. But let me suggest after you had come up with all the topics and crucial information, you would have left out one very important—I would say, essential—ingredient:

Sacrificial servanthood.

Was that topic on your list? If so, congratulations. I don’t think it would be included by many Christians today.

It troubles me greatly that this topic is given only a passing glance in most of our lives and in many of our churches. It troubles me because Jesus, our example, told us that He came, not to be served, but to serve. It troubles me because Paul told us in Philippians 2 that we should have the same mind that Jesus had, who made Himself nothing. (We now seem to be intent on making ourselves something.) It troubles me because all of the writers in the New Testament at one time or another referred to themselves as bondservants—something like slaves—to Jesus Christ. It troubles me because Jesus told us in Luke 14 that we cannot be His disciples unless we are willing to sacrifice our very lives. It troubles me because Jesus told us to love one another to the extent that we should be willing to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters

I just don’t see this in many of our churches. What do I see? Well, maybe you would be willing to tell me what you see.

I don’t write this to give the impression that I’ve got all this together or to be condemning or self-righteous. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. And I’m pretty much aware of my shortcomings in this area—I’m a sinner, just like everyone else—as well as the process of sanctification in the lives of Christians. But it’s a narrow road to follow Jesus, and I feel compelled to bring up this topic. We need to look at it. Consider it. Study it.

I’m coming to understand—slowly—that any teaching about discipleship is lacking that doesn’t bring the topic of sacrificial servanthood front and center. Being a disciple is costly. Let’s ask the Father for help so we can move toward what is clearly a biblical admonition.