The following is an excerpt from Beth Moore’s new study, The Quest. Order your copy or see a free sample today at Lifeway.com/TheQuest. You can also pick up a copy at your local Lifeway Store!
Mark’s parallel account tells us Jesus “summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs” (Mark 6:7). We don’t have to be math wizards to calculate that Jesus could have covered twice the ground if He’d sent each of them out alone. He didn’t. Think about it and offer five reasons why you think two were better than one:
I wish I could sit across a table for two and hear your five reasons. These are the kinds of things I’d like to toss around in a conversation over a shared basket of sizzling, salty French fries. Discipleship involves a constant volleying between being apart and being a part. To pursue deeply satisfying intimacy with Christ, learning how to be apart from everyone else and alone with Him is a necessity. The old saying still has merit: who I am when no one’s around is the real me. But discipleship also places a high premium on community and fellowship, on camaraderie and co-working. To know only how to be apart with Jesus but not a part of a holy partnership of believers leaves more than a deficit of human company. As paradoxical as this seems, it also subtracts from our knowledge of Christ. We are hard pressed to fully come to know Him in isolation from fellow Jesus followers even if we spend every waking moment in the Scriptures. Similarly, we are vastly less equipped in our callings and effective in our giftings if we’re perpetual spiritual shut-ins, even if we’re shut in our closets praying. Isolation is not His way. We are the body of Christ and all amputated appendages eventually dry up and die if they aren’t willing to somehow reattach. If your physical health has you homebound, be bold and reach out to a local community of believers and find creative ways to co-serve.
When times are tough and you’re about to give up, your fellow sojourners tell you to keep going. When you feel unwelcomed and unsuccessful, somebody’s next to you, shaking the same dust off his road-weary feet. When you don’t have a dime, you still have a friend. When you don’t have the faith to get back on the path, someone can help you up with a handful of hers. When you get to glimpse a miracle, you have someone at hand to bear happy witness and, years later, to remind you it was real. A fellow believer who can make you laugh helps you bear your seasons of tears. We are sheep (plural) among wolves. You’re not meant to pasture as one lone lamb surrounded by a howling pack. We need fellow sheep nearby who can bleat, “Remember, He said there’d be days like this.” One common cause of loneliness is the natural human tendency to limit our search for comrades to people who look or seem very much like us. We will miss what would have surely been some of our favorite people on earth if we won’t look beyond our mirror image in age, marital status, background, and personality.