As a disciple of Jesus, do I lean on the Holy Spirit’s equipping and work with other disciples to accomplish the task?
Read Ephesians 2:8-10; 4:15-16
Yo-Yo Ma is a gifted and renowned cellist, a musical innovator who’s poured his life into knowing and perfecting his instrument. When I’m creatively stuck, I often reach for his Bach interpretations. In Ma’s hands, the voice of the cello and the perfection of Bach unlocks something in my mind and heart that…works.
What does Yo-Yo Ma have to do with these verses in Ephesians and discipleship?
Well, give me a moment, I think we can get there.
Ma is a brilliant solo artist—no question. He and his cello function as a single incredible unit. He’s also a prolific and creative collaborator, exploring music with artists across many cultures and genres. As good as he is alone, his gifts combined with those of other musicians raises them all to greater heights.
Being a disciple is not a solo act.
Yes, you come into it as an individual—you meet Jesus, you give your life to follow Him. But you are immediately given a partner in the Holy Spirit who takes up residence in you. The Spirit in you begins to move and direct and show you what is to flow out of you and into those around you. That’s the first partnership—you’re not in this alone, the Spirit is within you.
The second partnership is with other disciples in whom the Spirit also lives. The Body of Christ. This amazing, incomprehensible organism of uniquely gifted and prepared people who, in God’s divine composition, work to accomplish His eternal purpose. (I know, that’s a lot of words but you try describing such a gift.)
Go back to the orchestra. Every musician, every instrument, plays its part at the right time in the right place. And together, the music grows and reaches out and moves the listener’s heart. You may not be the star cello, but even if you play one ping of the triangle, that ping is absolutely essential.
Look at Ephesians 2:8-10 again. You have been saved by grace through faith, a gift of God. You, in English, is singular—you, the one, the individual. But it’s also plural—all of you, the group, the ones saved by grace. As believers, we individually experience this gift, but we also share this experience with each other. And we—plural, collectively—are His workmanship created for good works.
This business of being a disciple—of making disciples, growing the Body of Christ, reaching people with Good News, and all Jesus calls us to do in love and grace and service—is to be done in partnership with each other! There are no “ungifted” believers. We are each equipped by the Spirit to work together (Ephesians 4:16) so that this amazing Body grows and builds to the glory of God.
As a disciple of Jesus, you are not a solo act. You are equipped by the Spirit of God, and like musicians in an orchestra, you live in concert with other disciples to share the music of eternal life with a waiting, needy, listening world.
Consider this: What can you do today to lean into the Spirit and the gifts He has given to you? Ask Him to open doors to use your gifts to encourage and build up the Body. Look at believers around you—how are you working together? Is it time to practice Hebrews 10:23-24 and “stir each other up” to love and good works, encouraging one another?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for calling me as your disciple, and for giving your Spirit to equip me. And thank you for the companionship and mutual strength I gain from walking with other disciples. Holy Spirit, show me where I can best use your gifts to build up the Body. Even when I’m alone, connect my heart and spirit with my amazing family-in-Christ. May the music of my life be honoring to you, and to the Father. In the Son’s name, amen.
–Barb Gerhart, Global Disciples