I’m reading “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe. What can we learn about discipleship from this small excerpt as Crusoe disciples a native he rescued from cannibals? Great Lessons!!!
“I had, God knows, more sincerity than knowledge in all the methods I took for this poor creature’s instruction, and must acknowledge, what I believe all that act upon the same principle will find, that in laying things open to him, I really informed and instructed myself in many things that either I did not know or had not fully considered before, but which occurred naturally to my mind upon searching into them, for the information of this poor savage; and I had more affection in my inquiry after things upon this occasion than ever I felt before: so that, whether this poor wild wretch was better for me or no, I had great reason to be thankful that ever he came to me; my grief sat lighter, upon me; my habitation grew comfortable to me beyond measure: and when I reflected that in this solitary life which I have been confined to, I had not only been moved to look up to heaven myself, and to seek the Hand that had brought me here, but was now to be made an instrument, under Providence, to save the life, and, for aught I knew, the soul of a poor savage, and bring him to the true knowledge of religion and of the Christian doctrine, that he might know Christ Jesus, in whom is life eternal; I say, when I reflected upon all these things, a secret joy ran through every part of My soul, and I frequently rejoiced that ever I was brought to this place, which I had so often thought the most dreadful of all afflictions that could possibly have befallen me. I continued in this thankful frame all the remainder of my time; and the conversation which employed the hours between Friday and me was such as made the three years which we lived there together perfectly and completely happy, if any such thing as complete happiness can be formed in a sublunary state. This savage was now a good Christian, a much better than I; though I have reason to hope, and bless God for it, that we were equally penitent, and comforted, restored penitents. We had here the Word of God to read, and no farther off from His Spirit to instruct than if we had been in England. I always applied myself, in reading the Scripture, to let him know, as well as I could, the meaning of what I read; and he again, by his serious inquiries and questionings, made me, as I said before, a much better scholar in the Scripture knowledge than I should ever have been by my own mere private reading. Another thing I cannot refrain from observing here also, from experience in this retired part of my life, viz. how infinite and inexpressible a blessing it is that the knowledge of God, and of the doctrine of salvation by Christ Jesus, is so plainly laid down in the Word of God, so easy to be received and understood, that, as the bare reading the Scripture made me capable of understanding enough of my duty to carry me directly on to the great work of sincere repentance for my sins, and laying hold of a Saviour for life and salvation, to a stated reformation in practice, and obedience to all God’s commands, and this without any teacher or instructor, I mean human; so the same plain instruction sufficiently served to the enlightening this savage creature, and bringing him to be such a Christian as I have known few equal to him in my life.”
“I had, God knows, more sincerity than knowledge in all the methods…”
One of the keys in discipleship is to get started, even though you don’t feel like you know enough. (Jn 14.21, 17.7) We will never know enough. Share what you know. And in the sharing, more will come.
” …that in laying things open to him, I really informed and instructed myself in many things…”
I have found this to be true, the disciple-maker is usually the greater recipient of knowledge and joy than the disciple. (Act 20.35, 3Jn 1.4) Pour yourself into others and you will reap the harvest.
“…I had more affection in my inquiry after things upon this occasion than ever I felt before…”
The joy of learning to serve others by researching the Word of God on their behalf. If only people knew how exhilarating and self-satisfying it is to be motivated to learn in order to make disciples. (Phil 1.21-26, Mk 10.45)
“…but was now to be made an instrument, under Providence, to save the life…and bring him to the true knowledge of religion and of the Christian doctrine,…”
The wonders of being included in the greatest enterprise know to man, the advancement of the kingdom of God. And why wouldn’t God use angels or some other means; because He made us in His image and He wants us to become like Him as the lovers of men’s souls (Gal 5.1-2)
More coming soon…