Apprentices of the Master
In church, we talk a lot about being a disciple of Jesus. Disciple is a word that is not used very much these days but it typically means a follower or student of a master or teacher. In sports, for example, a disciple is used to refer to a player who was taught how to play the game from another player or coach and subsequently, plays like they do. In philosophy, a disciple adopts the same way of thinking or reasoning as his or her teacher. Peter and Andrew were the first disciples called by Jesus. They were fishermen by trade but taught by Jesus to love God and “fish for men” just as He did. In fact, Jesus’ early disciples were known as Christians, a.k.a. little Christs, meant to love and act like Him.
A word similar to disciple which may be more familiar is “apprentice.” While you might think of the business reality TV show with Donald Trump, an apprentice is a person who follows the master or teacher around and learns how to carry out the skills of the trade by watching and doing what the master does. When I think of an apprentice, I usually think of a plumber, carpenter, electrician, etc. in-training, following an experienced worker around, watching what they do, listening to their instructions, and doing likewise. One of the first jobs I had out of college was as a Fund Administrator (it’s okay if you don’t know what that is, neither did my wife). Basically though, everything I knew I learned on the job from the Senior Fund Administrator.
Have you ever thought of yourself as an apprentice of Jesus? Psalm 25:4-5 says, “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” This psalm of David is a prayer for God’s presence and leading. The cry of David’s heart was to know God more and more, and to know His truths. The Lord has many things to show us, teach us, and guide us in. Some examples include: what it means to love God, how to treat others, how to forgive, how to resist temptation, how to serve others, and so on. These are just some examples of the things we learn from Jesus. In love, Jesus calls us to be His apprentices. He doesn’t just tell us what to do. He wants to have a relationship with us where we walk with Him, talk with Him, and learn from Him.
To be a Christian is to be a disciple or apprentice of Jesus. He is our teacher and guide. He imparts God’s truths to us because He loves us and wants what’s best for us. A key principle implied in the psalm is when God shows us or teaches us something, we are to do it (i.e., put it into practice). No true learning or understanding occurs apart from application and follow-through. It would be like a plumber who follows the master around, watches what they do, hears their instructions, and then does nothing. Instead, let us be faithful followers, disciples, and apprentices of God our Savior, in whom we hope all day long.