Raise your hand if you have heard the word "disciple." Do you know what it means to be a disciple? A disciple is a student of a particular teacher. In the church, we most often think of the disciples of Jesus, don't we?
The Bible talks about Jesus' 12 disciples. Do you know any of their names? The original 12 disciples of Jesus were:
- Simon, who is also called Peter or Cephas
- James, the son of Zebedee
- John, the son of Zebedee (John and James were brothers)
- Bartholomew, who is also called Nathanael
- Matthew, also called Levi
- James, the son of Alphaeus
- Thaddaeus, who is also called Jude
- Simon, the Zealot, and
- Judas Iscariot
We in the church today also refer to ourselves as disciples of Jesus. Even though we did not have the opportunity to sit at Jesus' feet and listen to him like Peter and Bartholomew did, we do our best to follow his teachings, don't we?
We find Jesus' teachings written in the Bible. Some of Jesus' teachings are strange. Lessons such as love your enemies and pray for those who are mean to you; love your neighbor, even those who are different from us. He taught us to share with the poor and welcome strangers. It's not always easy to be a disciple of Jesus and follow his teachings!
Mother Teresa was a woman who spent her life trying her very best to be Jesus' disciple. She did a pretty good job of it, I think. She lived with the poorest of the poor in India and worked with them to make their lives better--sharing food, clothing, shelter and medical care. She wrote a prayer I'd like to share with you:
Prayer of Mother Teresa
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
And all God's people say, "Amen."