Jesus’ disciples were ordinary people—He didn’t entrust His vision to ministry professionals (Acts 4:13)! Sit back and enjoy this classic story about The Navigators founder Dawson Trotman refusing to disciple someone because he entrusted it to an “ordinary person.”
Dawson took Les [a sailor friend] home for one of Lila’s famous fried chicken dinners, and then they drove up to the Palos Verdes Hills, parked the car, and began fellowshipping in the things of God. A security guard came up, saw the sailor, a civilian, and the Bible, and asked, “What are you men doing?” His job was to guard a nearby school building, so he had time to talk, and for about an hour Daws answered his questions about the Bible and explained the gospel to him.
On the way home, Les said, “You know, Daws, I would give my right arm if I could do what you did tonight.”
Daws said, “Oh no, you wouldn’t.”
“Yes, I would,” Les answered.
Daws pressed a little deeper to see if the sailor really meant it and said, “No, you wouldn’t, Les.”
“I said I would!”
That determined tone of voice is what Dawson was waiting to hear. “Okay. It will not cost you your right arm, but it will cost you.” For the next three months Dawson spent many hours a week sharing with Les from the Scriptures and from his own experience the things he knew about getting into the Word of God, evangelism, and follow-up.
At the end of three months, Les brought Gurney Harris over to Dawson’s home and said to Dawson, “Give to this man what you have been giving to me. He can take it.”
Dawson looked him in the eye and said, “No, I’m not going to.”
Les was shocked and said, “I thought you wanted me to bring someone over who would be interested in going ahead in the Christian life.”
Daws replied, “That’s what I said, but you’re going to give to this man what I’ve been giving to you.”
Les answered, “But, Daws, I’ve never been to Bible school, and besides, I don’t know how to do it. I can’t do it.”
“If you can’t give to Gurney what I’ve given to you,” Daws said to Les, “then I have failed!” Les accepted the challenge, and being a man who really meant business, proceeded to teach Gurney as he had been taught by Daws, with occasional coaching when problems arose.
“If you can’t do it…I have failed.” In the years to come, Dawson often challenged his men with the words, “You’re not going to park your babes on my doorstep.” He was trying to awaken his spiritual offspring to their responsibility as parents in reproducing more spiritual offspring.*
Is there someone in your life that needs someone to lead them deeper into Jesus? What is keeping you from setting up some time with them?
*Some content taken from THE NAVIGATOR, by Robert Foster. Copyright © 2014. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.