Mark 3:14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,
Jesus chose His disciples, apostles! He chose them that they might be with Him and then that He might send them forth to preach!
With-ness is a term that I first learned from Gunther Krallman in his book Mentoring for Mission! I want to highly recommend this book to all of you that are in the process of training leaders or discipling!
The way Jesus trained men was that He spent time, life with them! Discipleship is not a series of lessons. It is life on life. It is one person loving and living life with another so that what God has done in one life affects another to the degree that the disciplines are learned.
It is not an academic exercise but meaningful sharing of your life. Now if you are not living the life you should then it will not do the necessary job. But if you love Jesus, read your Bible, pray, honor your marriage etc. then they will learn not from what you say but from what you do!
Remember what was said about the disciples in the book of Acts:
Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
Timothy had been with Paul so much that seeing Timothy would remind you of Paul and how he did the ministry!
I challenge you today to live life in such a way that it would be a meaningful testimony to the grace of God. I ask you to live a life that is reproducible in others. I challenge you to spend time with people so that they can see a real Christian life in action.
The key word in this verse is with! They are practicing with-ness not just witness! Many of us want to live one way and preach another. We want to live like we want and teach and preach that others should something!
Let’s just live in such a way that if they spend time with us that they will turn out more and more Christ like every day!