Empty Your Cup

By DiscipleshipJournal • Discipleship • 28 Jan 2013



Through meditating on the Great Commission I came to a very simple yet profound realisation.

If God commanded everyone to make disciples,
Then everyone is capable of making disciples.

The moment someone surrenders their life to Jesus they begin the journey of aligning their life with His Word, and their life comes under the mandate to make disciples.

I mentioned before in The Trouble With Discipleship, that there is no one-size-fits-all discipleship program.  That’s because there is no one-size-fits-all disciple.  God made us diverse, and though there will be similarities in the way we disciple others—since we’re all imitating what Christ modelled for us, and obeying the same Book—who we are, where we grew up, what our job is, and the unique work God has done in us, how we think and interact with the Word, all shape what we have to offer others as we invite them into our lives.

Last year I listened to a message by Andy Stanley (if you don’t know who he is, you probably want to change that!).  Part way through the message he hit on a leadership principle that I’ve adopted as a fundamental discipleship principle:

Empty Your Cup


This is a great image for what we do as disciplers.  Each of us is a cup, filled with a mixture of our personality, life experience, career, relationship with God, biblical knowledge, prayer life, mission experience, life wisdom, and so on.  God has placed people around us and our job is quite simply to pour the contents of our cup into theirs.

When we realise that discipleship is about emptying our cup, we realise that everyone is capable of making disciples.

It flies in the face of some common excuses for why we don’t lead or disciple:

  • I don’t know enough – FALSE
  • I’ve not been a Christian very long – FALSE
  • I’m not old enough – FALSE
  • It’s not my gifting – FALSE
  • I don’t have anything to offer – FALSE
  • Other people need more than me – FALSE
  • I need more training – FALSE
  • (add your own here!)


Like so many things in life, the reality is that if we wait until we’ve got it all together, it’ll never happen!

We will never know it all.
We will never get enough training.
There will always be someone who knows more or does it better.

But that’s not our concern.  Our job is simply to take what we do have and pour it into the people around us.  We ask the Spirit to help us trust the work God has done in us, and we trust Him to use what He’s done in our lives for the benefit of those around us.

(A beautiful thing about discipleship is it is never a one-way process!   As we’re pouring our cup into someone else, they’re pouring theirs into us.  It’s mutually beneficial!  This is the Body of Christ in action!)

If we communicate a message that says you have to be a highly trained expert to disciple people, then we are telling people they don’t have what it takes to do what Jesus commands.

God commands everyone to make disciples,
And so everyone is capable of making disciples.

That includes YOU!

Stop fretting, start trusting, look around
Empty Your Cup!

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