Luke 6:40 “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”
There are two sides to this statement. The first is what Jesus talked about a good bit in the Upper Room Discourse (John 13-17), that we cannot expect to be treated better than He was, because we, as His disciples, are His agents, and people will respond to us as they responded to Him. The second is that we need to be careful that we are Christ’s disciples, and not just disciples of some merely human leader. In our humanity we do need visible coaches and examples, but if our focus is on a human being, that will be a major limiter to our growth. We do indeed learn from each other, but more than that we need to strive to learn from God through each other. That might seem like no more than a difference in semantics, but it’s actually very important. God doesn’t want us to be like each other, He wants us to be like His Son. (1 Corinthians 15:49, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Ephesians 4:13) We will never approach that goal if we are focused on lesser examples.
From this standpoint, it is perhaps an advantage that I have never had a specific mentor, but that certainly doesn’t mean I am to get puffed up that “I am a disciple of Christ!” I need to be aware both of my own weaknesses and of the fact that many are looking to me as an example. In my teaching I am not to hesitate to say with Paul, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) However, I am to seek to point people to Christ above and beyond me. All too often I have been the limiting factor in the growth of this church and its members, and that grieves me. I want them to surpass me, but that will happen only to the degree that they are truly disciples of Christ, rather than disciples of Jack Garrott.
Father, this is an important issue, and I don’t have the wisdom to resolve it. Thank You for those who have been and are being drawn to Christ through me. Help me indeed point them, attach them, to Christ rather than simply to me. Thank You for for having me run into that woman yesterday in the store, who in the past has said she didn’t know if she believed in You, but she believed in me. I pray that she and any like her would encounter You indeed to become Your disciples, and I pray that I would be faithful in encouraging them and nurturing them in that journey, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!