I had a professor in seminary who used to say, whenever you did anything that was emblematic of a true disciple, “You smell like Jesus.” That was his way of saying that as we mature as followers of Christ, we will be likeHim, because we have been withHim. That’s what true discipleship was like for first-century disciples, and it’s what it is for us today as well.
That reminds me of a story I heard once about a man named John, who was an alcoholic, miraculously converted in a street outreach mission similar to the Firehouse Shelter in Birmingham, where our church serves each month.
Before his conversion he had gained a reputation as a derelict and dirty wino for whom there was no hope. But following his conversion to Christ, everything changed. John became the most caring person at the mission. He spent his days there, doing whatever needed to be done.
There was never anything he was asked to do that he considered beneath him. Whether it was cleaning up the mess made by a sick alcoholic, scrubbing toilets or doing laundry, John did it all with a heart of gratitude. He could be counted on to feed any man who wandered in off the streets, undress and put him into bed, when he was too out-of-it to take care of himself.
One evening, after the mission director delivered his evangelistic message to the usual crowd of sullen men with drooped heads, one of them looked up, came down to the altar and kneeled to pray, crying out for God to help him change.
The repentant drunk kept shouting, “Oh God, make me like John! Make me like John! Make me like John!” The director leaned over and said, “Son, wouldn’t it be better if you prayed, ‘Make me like Jesus”?
After thinking about it for a few moments, the man looked up with an inquisitive expression and asked, “Is He anything like John?”
There’s something about being transformed as a Christ-follower that makes us “smell like Jesus” and act like Him too. When we do people notice, and they are attracted to Him because of it. And so, we can say as the apostle Paul did, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
That’s the heart of disciple-making, as we walk the walk and talk to the talk of a disciple and in turn, disciple others. I’m praying that you’re doing that this week.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday. Don’t forget to “spring forward” on Saturday night–we don’t want to miss you on Sunday morning!–Pastor Ken]]>