The following is the first part of an article by Jason Webb – a Milwaukee-based pastor and public speaker, that suggests that true followers of Jesus focus on developing people rather than being the heroes.
For the last several weeks my son, Micah, and I have been on a Star Wars marathon. It never gets old. There are so many good moments from Star Wars.
The thing I find most fascinating about Star Wars is the mindset of the Jedis, whether Luke, or Obi One Kanobi, or Yoda; they are heroes. They save the galaxy. They do heroic deeds. But what is even more fascinating is that their number one focus is not what they do but who they develop.
They spend all of their time and energy developing apprentices. They are obsessed with it. They know that their legacy as Jedis is not in what they do but in who they develop. So Obi Won, apprentices Annakin, Yoda has Luke as his apprentice, Luke has Rei as his apprentice. They teach them, walk with them, share their lives with them, and push them to do even more than they could do themselves. In fact, the greatest joy for a Jedi is when their apprentice does even greater things then they do. Their legacy is not the heroic acts they do but the heroes they make.
As followers of Jesus we are called to be Jedis. Now, I’m not saying to go grab a lightsaber and pretend to be Yoda. No, we are called to have the mentality that our greatest legacy is, as my good friend Dave Ferguson writes, not being the hero of the movie, but the hero maker. Or to put it another way, your greatest legacy is not what you do but who you develop.
Jesus said as much. In fact, his last words were exactly this, in what is commonly referred to as the Great Commission. Remember that someone’s last words are often the most important. It’s what they want you to remember most.
Here’s what Jesus wanted us to remember most: “Therefore go (and do great things? Do heroic deeds? No…) and make disciples of all nations (be a hero maker),baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”(Matthew 28:19)
In other words, Jesus is saying, “The one thing that will best push forward my kingdom is for you not to be a doer but a developer. It’s for you to not be the hero but a hero maker. Go and make disciples.” That word disciple means follower or apprentice.
Jesus is the great Jedi.
Jesus is the great hero maker.
Jesus didn’t spend most of his time doing great things, although he did those. He spent most of his time developing people, his disciples: walking with them, doing life with them, rubbing his life up against theirs. His invitation was simple, “Follow me!” “Let me pour into you, let me develop you. Let me not make myself the hero of the story but let me make you a hero.” And his goal was, and this is absolutely insane, that they would do greater things than he would. I know that sounds almost sacrilegious to say about Jesus, but it is true.
These are his exact words to the people he was apprenticing, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)
Now, it’s important to know what Jesus is not saying. He is not saying that the people he was apprenticing were going to be greater than him. That would be sacrilegious. He is the only way to God. We are not God, he is. And he also isn’t saying that you are going to one-up him on the miracles he did…
He walked on water…so you will run on the water.
He fed 5,000 miraculously…so you will feed 50,000 miraculously.
What he is getting at is all tied up in the phrase of that verse, “I am going to the Father.”
In other words, Jesus knew that the way to have his mission spread wasn’t by him staying around and doing it all himself. No, the way this thing would spread is by him developing apprentices who then would go out and develop their own apprentices who then would go out and develop their apprentices who then go out…
So now the work spreads from 1 to dozens to hundreds to thousands to millions and now, in 2020, to billions. Billions of Christians, or “little Christs”, now doing the work that Jesus started, in every part of the globe. This is a far greater span and reach then he would have had just doing it all himself.
It’s brilliant. Jesus was the ultimate Jedi. Jesus is the ultimate hero maker. His plan for reaching the world is not by doing the work himself but by developing people.
And it is what he asks us to do as well.
So if you are a follower of Jesus, this is what you signed up for. You did not sign up to be the hero of the story, you signed up to be a hero maker. Your greatest legacy will not be what you do but who you develop. Because if you think that your legacy is only things you do…it will only last a few years, maybe, if you are lucky, a few decades…
But if you know your legacy is in who you develop, it will last for generations upon generations upon generations. It will expand from a few people to hundreds to thousands and beyond…it will far outlast you.
So will you stop being the hero and start being the hero maker?
That’s what great Jedis do.
And that’s what followers of Jesus do as well.
About Jason Webb
Jason Webb is a movement leader, public speaker, advocate for racial reconciliation, and an entrepreneur from Milwaukee, WI. His skillset includes networking, fundraising, strategic planning, leadership, merger and acquisition, recruiting, and business expansion. Mr. Webb has mobilized these skills to establish and manage churches and nonprofits and their budgets. He recently obtained a new leadership role for Great Lakes Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin.