It was time for the annual distribution of Christmas gifts in the state prisons. Baptists from all across the state had put together packets of essentials for the occupants. Soap, toothbrushes, gum, envelopes with stamps,and similar items. As we handed them out, the men thanked us as though we had given them thousands of dollars.
It seemed to be a chance encounter. Jim, the executive director of our state convention, was there doing the same thing that I was. A brief conversation led to an appointment for lunch. Lunch was mostly a friendly visit, but ended with the gift of a book, Real Life Ministries, and a reminder of the importance of discipleship.
I devoured the book over the next couple of days. Jim Putman, a former wrestling coach, planted a church in the middle of nowhere, Idaho. In a small town of 10,000 people a church of 8,000 has grown up in eight years. No fancy show. No big time entertainment evangelism. Just a faithful commitment to reach people and disciple them in faith.
Jesus said “Go into all the world and make disciples.” (Matt. 28:19). I remember reading many years ago a book by Leroy Eims entitled, Disciples are Made, Not Born.
All of this to say, I have made a simple decision that has emerged from a chance encounter (or was it) in prison. I am going to devote the rest of my life to making disciples. I am going to be a faithful disciple, and I am going to make disciples of Christ. What will you do with the rest of your life?