They not only received information from me (a training track), but they also applied it. As they were faithful in the little things, I gave them more. In November, both Janet and Fabian started their own new groups. I'm excited and confident that they will successfully lead their own cells because their obedience in the small things has led them to this point.
On the other hand, John (not his real name) seemed like a great guy for me to mentor. He made a point to seek me out, and I felt equally attracted to minister to him. We spent lots of time together, both formally and informally. On various occasions, I invited John to dinner at our home. My children eagerly looked forward to John's visits. Everything seemed to click, until I noticed a fatal flaw.
I discovered that John didn't follow through on commitments. He would say yes to my suggestions in order to please me, but then fail to act. I desired honesty more than blind obedience, but I expected him to keep his word. I noticed that failure to keep his word was a pattern in his life, and eventually I was forced to cut off the mentoring relationship. John continues to wander through life, seeking work here and there with little success.
Paul warns of evil men in the last days who are "always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth" (2 Timothy 3:7). Knowledge without obedience doesn't cut it in the kingdom. Thankfully, Paul could point to Timothy as someone who faithfully applied God's Word. He said, "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others" (2 Timothy 2:2).
Commitment, faithfulness, and obedience are essential qualifications for discipleship. As we obey God's Word, he'll give us more knowledge and we'll have a greater impact for his glory.
Copyright © 2000 Christianity Today. Originally appeared on Smallgroups.com.