The last trait that I want to highlight from John Stott’s Radical Disciple is dependence.
Relying On Another
Dependence is something foreign to many within a hyper-individualistic society. Some might even see it as an attack against everything that made a nation great. Admittedly, while America was built on rugged individuals, earlier generations were also connected to their town and community groups. Although as a Radical Disciple is concerned, they will pursue after God and be dependent on him (as hard as this might be!).
Really though, this is tough. I get it. It would be nice to have everything figured out on my own. Yet, every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer at church, dependence hits me like a bucket of cold water. In the Lord’s Prayer, we’re declaring that the Lord must provide, otherwise we’re up a creek without a paddle, boat, or mosquito repellant.
Stott movingly recounts his realizations that he was becoming more dependent on others as his body was breaking down. Old age took its toll on him and now he needed care from others. Yes, dependence on others and on the Lord can be foreign to us in the USA. But a refusal to place our dependence on others is not a sign of maturity, instead it’s immaturity. We need others, especially as a Radical Disciple ages.
Grabbing onto Dependence
Dependence is pivotal to life. We come into this world as a baby, totally dependent on others.
Have you ever noticed that?
Something that I have personally witnessed is that my little daughter is 100% dependent on our love and care. Perhaps other phases of life will allow others to be dependent on us, but eventually, a lot will go out of this world dependent on others again. We are made to be a burden to others, to rely on the strength of the community. Whether it’s the biological family or church family, we are called to a life of “mutual burdensomeness.” Paul would similarly exhort that we should “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
If we are to be a disciple of Jesus, let’s follow his pattern. He was dependent on his mother and father (the God of the universe had his bottom wiped!!) and would exit the world at the crucifixion totally dependent, pierced and body stretched out on the cross. Jesus still had his divine dignity though, so nothing will be lost from us except our pride. If it’s OK for the God of the universe, then perhaps it will be alright for the Radical Disciple of Jesus.
A Parting Note
A Radical Disciple is someone who is thoroughly committed to follow Jesus (not a Christian in name only). They’re a pupil learning under a master and they are a person radically committed to the cause of the Kingdom.
What other traits does a Radical Disciple embody?