When we talk about ‘whole-life discipleship’, often what we are referring to is every aspect of our lives – our work, play, volunteering, etc. In other words, how can we live for Christ every day of the week. But it also means every phase of our lives. For example, living as a whole-life disciple will look very different for a freshman in college, as compared to someone in mid-life, or someone who’s recently retired.
I recently heard someone share a story about the man I consider to be the ‘grandfather’ of the Vere Institute, John Stott. (John Stott founded the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, which inspired our founding.) A good friend of John’s visited him during what turned out to be the last few weeks of his life. John was clearly not doing well physically, and this person asked how he might pray for him. His answer astonished me. In wispy breath, John uttered, “Pray…that I would be faithful to the end.” Here was this amazing 90-year old man of God, who had a monumental impact on the evangelical movement in the 20th century, and he’s asking for prayer that his faithfulness would endure to the end. Incredible!
It reminds me of the story we find in Joshua 14 about Caleb. You’ll recall that after scouting the Promised Land with 11 other spies, only he and Joshua brought back a good report, encouraging the Israelites to “take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Numbers 13:30). Now 85 years old, Caleb reminds Joshua of a promise he had been anticipating for 45 years, which was his share of the land. Amazing!
I find these stories to be incredibly stretching. Often, my time horizon is limited to what can I can see directly in front of me: a pending deadline, a quarterly goal, or perhaps the end of the year. To remain faithful to the end, to wait expectantly for a lifetime for God to fulfill a promise —how can we expect to do that? Of course, we can’t do it on our own. Jesus told us that, “Apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). So, I hope you will join me in asking for His help to live as whole-life disciple of Christ every year of our lives—faithful to the end.
Chris Lake co-founded the Vere Institute (Oct 2014 – May 2021) to empower Christians to integrate their faith into everyday life, their “frontlines.” Chris continues to serve pastors through offering transitional coaching. You can find him on LinkedIn. The Vere Institute’s legacy lives on through our Vere Library, a republishing of many of their written works.