Apprenticing Under Jesus

Before I entered ministry, I worked a few jobs that I disliked — except one. This job was interesting, challenging and even fulfilling to an extent. For a few years, I worked as a screen printer at a local T-shirt shop where I would design T-shirts for customers and then upon approval, I would screen print them on various T-shirts. And to be honest, I was getting pretty good at it. However, this didn’t happen naturally.

Upon being hired, one of the first things I had to do was to apprentice under another accomplished screen printer. For a period, I had to observe this accomplished screen printer, memorize the way he pushed the blade filled with ink over the screen and onto the shirt, and learn his technique of how he loaded and unloaded the shirts from the printing machine. Once I thought I could try it, he would let me in front of the screen and I would soon print my first T-shirt. And it was through many repetitions, listening to corrections, and re-observing my instructor that I became confident in this craft of screen printing, but this confidence only came because I was an apprentice first.

Scripture says that when we make the decision to follow Jesus, we are to become disciples of Jesus. Sadly, the definition of disciple has been changed or forgotten through the years, and today being a disciple of Jesus may mean nothing more than attending church every now and then and reading your Bible when you get to it.

The word “disciple” means to be a follower of Jesus, or better yet an apprentice of Jesus. To be an apprentice of Jesus, we must learn and embody the ways of Jesus. We see how He loved unconditionally, forgave freely, displayed mercy and kindness, stood up for what was right and didn’t give in to the things that were wrong. These are the things as apprentices of Jesus we must learn, embody and act out in our lives, and it’s through this process of apprenticing through Jesus we grow from immaturity to a mature disciple of Christ. It’s through this process we become skilled apprentices of Jesus.

As we follow Jesus, may we follow in the ways of Jesus. May we love unconditionally how Jesus loves unconditionally. May we forgive freely how Jesus forgives freely. And may we extend mercy and kindness to everyone around us just as Jesus extends mercy and kindness.

May we become confident apprentices, skilled in the ways of Jesus.

1 John 2:3-6: And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says, “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

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