LID#28 – The Big Dipper Illustration
This is Dr. Ed Hoskins welcoming you to Lessons in Discipleship, a series designed to help new believers become established in their Christian faith. This is our final lesson in this discipleship series. It is #28, the Big Dipper Illustration. First, let me tell you a little about myself.
I am a retired physician who spent 34 years in family medicine and student health. I became a Christian 50 years ago and was helped early in my faith by the Navigators, an international, non-denominational Christian organization whose stated goal is To Know Christ and to Make Him Known. I have been on associate staff with that organization since 1980. Lessons in Discipleship is a compilation of what I learned from the Bible and under the guidance of the Navigators during that time. What I learned then I now pass on to you. Today’s session is the Big Dipper Illustration.
The Big Dipper is a northern sky constellation consisting of seven stars that resemble a water dipper. The two stars forming the far end of the cup line up to point directly to Polaris, the North Star. It has long been used to find directions by sailors and other travelers. In May of 1948, Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators, was traveling on a mission trip. One night, while in Paris, he went up on the roof to pray. He saw the Big Dipper. He realized that this constellation summarized all the ministry principles God had taught the Navigators over the years. The first star where the handle joins the Dipper allows it to rotate. This star represents the center of the Christian life which for us should be the Wheel Illustration. The Wheel Illustration we have already gone over in a previous session of Lessons in Discipleship (#3).
Christ is the center of our lives. The wheel’s rim represents obedience to Christ. The four spokes of our Christian wheel are witnessing, fellowship, the word, and prayer. The next star down in the cup highlights the importance of getting God’s word into our lives. Dawson said he saw this as the Word Hand with hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on God’s word. We covered this topic in discipleship lesson #4. The next star moving to the right in the cup now forms a scoop. This represents evangelism, gathering in the fruits of evangelism for God’s kingdom. And this could be seen as the Bridge Illustration, another one of our discipleship sessions (#6). Moving up for the next star in the cup turns the scoop into a shovel. This represents conserving the fruits of evangelism. We call that follow-up – again, another one of our discipleship lessons (#15).
The star immediately to the left of the Wheel Illustration star, the first one of the handle, represents “pace setting.” This encourages others to follow us as they see us demonstrating discipleship.
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice.” (Philippians 4:9) This is leading by example.
To the left of the pace-setting star represents “other works.”
This reminds us of the importance of other Christian groups such as mission agencies, church denominations, and parachurch groups.
“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4) Dawson Trotman was always interested in other Christian organizations, groups, and churches. He always wanted to see people raised up as solid disciples of Jesus and then to give them away to other organizations.
Finally, the left-most and last star of the handle represents our ultimate Christian goal, reaching the world for Christ. “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” (Mark 16:15)
Well, let’s summarize this very brief and final presentation.
While praying on the roof of a hotel in Paris in 1948, Dawson Trotman envisioned the Big Dipper as an illustration highlighting our entire Christian lives and goals to the glory of God. This consisted of seven connecting stars of the Wheel Illustration, the Word Hand, Evangelism and the Bridge Illustration, Follow-up, Pace-Setting, Other Works, and finally a vision to see the entire World for Christ.
I just want to say a big thank you for being a part of Lessons in Discipleship. This is our 28th and final lesson. Ask God to build each of these discipleship lessons into your lives. Then go out and help other Christians do the same thing, multiplying your efforts. Whether or not I see you again in this world, keep following Jesus. He is worth it! This wraps up today’s presentation. Thanks for being a part. God bless you and keep pursuing God, knowing that God is always pursuing us.