In his book, Radical, David Platt asks if the American dream is compatible with Christian discipleship. Can we be faithful to Jesus and pursue success by this world’s standards?
What is the American dream? Does it mean that we do whatever we must in order to get bigger houses and bank accounts, fancier cars and clothes, richer meals and vacations? If so, then how does Jesus and his agenda fit into such a life?
Jesus challenges his followers to make radical sacrifices, even to the point of risking one’s life in this age. He urges us to do whatever it takes in order to join him in his kingdom agenda.
The Lord’s agenda is clear and concise: “Go make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I commanded you (Matthew 28:19-20).”
To be a disciple of Jesus we must make disciples for Jesus.
According to Jesus, the first step in making disciples is to go. We reach out to others with the good news about Jesus. We don’t just sit and wait for them to come to us.
Jesus tells us to make disciples of “all the nations.” Our outreach for making disciples is not limited by distance, race, nationality, politics, gender, or any of the other lines drawn by people to define and divide. We should go across the street and around the world to make disciples.
Jesus says that making disciples includes two things: baptizing and teaching.
Our first goal in reaching out is to bring people to a point of faith in Christ so that they will receive Christian baptism. We tell others about Jesus so that they will be saved and then profess their saving faith publicly through believer’s baptism.
Once people become disciples, we also help them be disciples.
Making disciples includes teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands. This is a life-long journey, the same journey that we are experiencing as disciples of Jesus.
So, we want to see lost people saved and saved people stronger.
Making disciples takes time, and so does the American dream. In his book, David Platt questions whether it is possible to succeed at both pursuits. Jesus puts it this way, “Nobody is able to serve two masters, for he will hate one and love the other or be devoted to one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24).”
Platt also points out the terrible loss that occurs when Jesus’ followers opt for the American dream and do not make disciples. Hundreds of millions of people around the world will be lost, suffering in hell forever.
So the cost of not making disciples is high, too high. On the other hand, the reward for making disciples is beyond measure. All the houses, money, clothes, food and vacations in this life will be forgotten, but those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever and ever.
Treasure on earth can be destroyed and stolen. Treasure in heaven will never be destroyed or stolen. And as Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be (Matthew 6:21).”
May the Lord give us hearts that store up treasure in heaven,