Elephants and Discipleship

Image borrowed from www.nhm.org
Image borrowed from http://www.nhm.org

I came across an interesting article the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. The article was talking about a public television special about elephants.

In an attempt to thin out the local herd, the authorities killed off a number of the older males and moved a group of females and young bulls to another area. Before long, white rhinos in that area were being killed, not by poachers, but by the young bulls who were trying to prove their elephant-manliness. One elephant even organized a gang of fellow delinquents and began leading attacks against tourist buses.

The authorities shot some of the troublemakers but then came up with a better solution.

They released a few old males from another area into the troubled neighborhood. The older males immediately began to bring the young bulls into line. They took them on in tusking matches and bested them. They didn’t shed any blood or harm them. They just deflated their pride and taught them that you don’t have to kill rhinos to prove you’re an elephant, just play the majestic role God has assigned to you. Peace soon returned to that part of the bush.

Christian discipleship is a lot like that.

  • You don’t ever become a maturing Christian in isolation.
  • We need people who model what faithfulness looks like.

How do Christians learn how to trust God when things are hard? How do Christians learn to give and serve even when they are in need and hurting? How do Christians learn to live with joy even in the midst of suffering?

All these things are learned as we observe more mature Christians living out the Christian faith through the highs and lows of life.

One final note, this is the reason why the Little Church on the Prairie intentionally is intergenerational in our ministries. We believe we learn better how to live out the Christian faith when the generations live the faith together.

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