the shape of leadership

Learning to Abide

Taking time to soak up the Lord’s presence

Dick Brogden on May 16, 2017

My parents taught me to abide. They were pioneer missionaries, church planters and leaders. They were active and energetic, but one thing was supreme: the simplicity of just having Jesus and abiding in Him.

To them, abiding in Jesus was both a discipline and a state. The discipline of abiding refers to the daily morning time with Jesus, reading the Bible and praying. The state of abiding refers to communing with Jesus all day long.

All of our moments and days belong to Jesus.

My parents called the discipline of abiding their “8 to 10.” By that, they meant they would dedicate those morning hours of 8 to 10 to Jesus. They did not answer the phone or the gate, they removed themselves from distractions, and they took their coffee and chairs out into the equatorial Kenyan sun, where they lingered with Jesus. You could set your clock by it. 

Missionary Billy Burr coined the term “a tithe of me.” The premise is that we have a resource that is more precious than money: our time. In a financial tithe, we acknowledge that 100 per- cent of our resources belong to God, and we are merely returning a portion (10 percent) of what is His, as a sign of trust. He takes what remains and bountifully meets all our needs. Thus it is for abiding. We tithe our time. All of our moments and days belong to Jesus. We merely return to Him a portion of them, and He takes what remains and bountifully blesses it. No one considers the financial tithe legalistic. Abiding isn’t legalistic either when we approach it with a pure and glad heart. 

My parents realized the John 15:1–7 methodology of abiding in Jesus empowers the Matthew 28 commission to go and make disciples. Jesus — somewhat shockingly — tells us that the primary way we make disciples is by spending extravagant time with Him. Abiding is the first priority of the minister and the chief methodology of the mission. Do you want to make disciples? Abide in Jesus!

This article originally appeared in the April/May 2017 edition of Influence magazine.
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