What the Disciples Caught – Part I

We have all heard that when it comes to teaching and leading, “more is caught than taught”. What this means is that our walk often speaks louder than our words and has a more profound impact on those around us than what we say.

Jesus took three years with His disciples to prepare them for launching the church on this earth. What did He teach them to prepare them for their life’s work? What did they learn by being with Him for three years?

In John 8.1, we have the story of the leper who came and knelt before Jesus. “If you are willing, you can make me clean”. Christ responded by saying “I am willing” and not only healed the man with his word, but with his touch as well. He then commanded the healed man to follow protocol and present himself to the priest as a testimony to them.

Had we been Christ’s disciples, what might we have caught from watching Jesus heal the leper?

For starters, we’d learn that Christ valued faith in Him. The leper knew Christ could heal him. Christ responded immediately and positively to the leper’s faith. But the leper had doubts too: “If you are willing…” The leper wondered if Christ wanted to heal him – a guy who was fully outcast from society. Christ modeled His love for the outcast and said “I am willing”. The value he modeled was this: No one can be so damaged that they are beyond Christ’s love and forgiveness.

But when Christ touched the leper, he also taught the disciples that sometimes, doing God’s work – which is what running a business is – will involve being counter-cultural. By touching the man, Christ made himself unclean. But by touching the man, He also entered this man’s pain and brokenness in a profound and personal way that no amount of words could ever do. The disciples observed that healing broken people is more important than maintaining their own status and that sometimes, doing good would be counter-cultural.

Yet when Christ told the leper to show himself to the priest as a testimony to them, He demonstrated that following protocol is also important. He demonstrated balance. Balancing when to be counter-cultural and when to work within the culture is a hallmark of mature leaders.

By His actions, Christ taught:

  1. Faith in Him always catches His attention
  2. No one is so damaged as to be beyond Christ’s love and help
  3. Maintaining one’s status is secondary to serving those around us
  4. Some work for God will be counter cultural
  5. Some work for God will be within cultural norms

As a business owner – what catches your attention? Do you have employees that you don’t notice? By your actions, do you teach your employees that some people are more important than others on your staff? Or do they see your love for each and every one of them as being unconditional – not tied to their work performance?

It is counter-cultural to say to your employees: I want to help you be a better “you”. To invest in them in a way that makes them know that you’re concerned about their full development, not just their immediate work performance.

Some of your employees will put on a good face and come to work. But inwardly, they look at themselves as being so damaged in one way or another that they will never amount to anything. As a Christian business owner, you have the enviable and unique opportunity to love them – to connect them to Christ – not through preaching, but through your actions. You can take time to teach them how to be better people, to offer them opportunities to grow professionally that will also help them grow personally, to mentor them in a way that only a Christian can and to do kingdom work in their lives that is truly transformational.

God is looking for business owners like this. Will you be one of them?


Bill English, CEO