Discipleship: a difficult word to define… an even more difficult concept to live out.
It starts with total commitment.
Here is a story I have often heard, best told by Gary Golike in the newspaper THE VALLEY NEWS.*
Tim Bowden, in his book "One Crowded Hour" about cameraman Neil Davis, tells of an incident that happened in Borneo during the confrontation between Malaysia and Indonesia in 1964. A group of Gurkha soldiers from Nepal were asked if they would be willing to jump from transport planes into combat against the Indonesians if the need arose. The Gurkhas had the right to turn down the request because they had never been trained as paratroopers. Bowden quotes Davis’s account of the story:
"Now the Gurkhas usually agreed to anything, but on this occasion they provisionally rejected the plan. But the next day one of their NCOs sought out the British officer who made the request and said they had discussed the matter further and would be prepared to jump out of the planes under certain conditions.
"‘What are they?’ asked the British officer.
"The Gurkhas told him they would jump if the land was marshy or reasonably soft with no rocky outcrops, because they were inexperienced in falling. The British officer considered this and said that the dropping area would almost certainly be over jungle, and there would not be rocky outcrops, so that seemed all right. Was there anything else?
"‘Yes,’ said the Gurkhas. They wanted the plane to fly as slowly as possible and no more than 100 feet high. The British officer pointed out the planes always did fly as slowly as possible when dropping troops, but to jump from 100 feet was impossible, because the parachutes would not open in time from that height.
"‘Oh,’ said the Gurkhas. ‘That’s all right, then. We’ll jump with parachutes anywhere. You didn’t mention parachutes before!’
Until they understood completely, the Gurkhas were negotiating the height of their jump from the plane—without parachutes!
The Gurkhas’ commitment to their cause illustrates the commitment called for in true discipleship.