The Alongsider’s Thesaurus

By Bill Mowry (www.alongsider.com)

I’ve always assumed that mature disciplemakers needed additional layers of sophistication, technique, and professionalism. I’m now discarding some of these layers and returning to simpler approaches. One simple approach is ministering from a life thesaurus.

What is a life thesaurus? Ministry in the kingdom happens when, “Every teacher of the Law who has been instructed about the Kingdom of Heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old“ (Matt 13:52). The “storeroom” is from the Greek word thesauros, from which we have our word, thesaurus. Today, we understand a thesaurus as a useful storeroom of synonyms and antonyms. Jesus had something more in mind.

One commentator describes this storeroom as a “man’s heart, its wealth and cherished values. The discipled scribe brings things out of his heart–out of his understanding, personality, and very being.” This storeroom, or thesaurus, is a life-treasury filled with insights from the Scriptures; insights that have shaped our lives and have the potential for God to use to shape the lives of others.

The simple tool of a life becomes a valuable resource in discipling others. Professionals aren’t needed for this type of ministry. We can all start by sharing God’s work in our hearts. How can my life be like this “storeroom,” a thesaurus filled with biblical insights? Here are some suggestions.

I need fresh insights from the Scriptures. The disciples’ hearts ”burned within them” when Jesus opened the Scriptures (Luke 24:32). Meditation and study should daily yield new insights that lights a fire in our hearts.

I need fresh applications. Jan Johnson writes: “[Scriptures] meditated on but not practiced inflate our minds.” Silent obedience to the Spirit through the Scriptures in the quiet of life is the route to transformation (John 14:21).

I need to tell stories of change. Stories bring out the “old” in our storeroom. Think through the basics of the Christian life – -the Bible, prayer, fellowship, witnessing – – and capture a story about how God has changed your life in each of these areas. When we tell stories about what God is doing in our lives, we show others how to follow Jesus.

I need  ”mortar verses.” Mortar verses are foundational passages that the Holy Spirit’s imprinted on our hearts. They’re personal reasons for why we want to walk with God, give generously, or make good decisions. We should have a storehouse of biblical references that we can use at a moment’s notice.

An alongsider adventure happens when we draw from a rich thesaurus, the storeroom of a life that’s daily interacting with the Scriptures. How can you draw from your rich storeroom as you come alongside someone this week?

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