Grandma Betty, a farmer born barely after slavery ended, was a real disciple. I wanted to be like her, despite the physical evidence of the hardships she suffered, because she moved with a confidence and assurance that was compelling. It was clear that she was a woman of God and a disciple of Jesus.
There are no physical marks that identify a disciple, only certain practices that disciples engage in as they follow Jesus. Jesus modeled for the disciples seven practices that we can call the seven marks of discipleship: praying, studying, worshiping, inviting, encouraging, serving, and giving. They are essential to accomplishing Jesus’ great commission (Matthew 28:19–20).
Grandma Betty had a saying “being born in an oven doesn’t make you a biscuit.” Disciples are made through practice. I watched her practice and embody these seven marks of discipleship and she did make more disciples.
This message is adapted from “Are You Marked” written by Valora K Starr in the November 2011 issue of Gather magazine.