I love hiking. I love everything about it. The exhilaration of standing on a summit after a strenuous climb. The simplicity of carrying, in your backpack, everything you need to survive. The beautiful scenery and wildlife sightings. Even the things that some hikers would look down upon like sleeping on the hard ground or hiking in the rain. There’s not much about hiking that I don’t enjoy. One of the most overlooked things about the hiking community is the camaraderie. When everyone is out on the trail going through the same weather, difficulties, and scenery, you grow close. For those who’ve hiked the Appalachian Trail, you know all of the quirky things that are involved. One of my favorites is getting a “trail name.” People, instead of using their own name, take a pseudonym, a name or phrase that represents them or their personality. The last time I hiked the trail, I was given the name “Disciple.” I felt such an honor to be able to carry that name. But I wondered… if we’re Christians, are we honored to wear the name “Disciple” in our daily lives? First, we must really understand what a disciple is. A disciple is someone who follows Jesus Christ. A disciple is also a learner; someone who follows the pursuit of another in order to learn from their example (see Matt. 8:31 and Matt. 13:34-35).
So what does hiking and being a disciple of Jesus have in common? Well, being “Disciple” on the trail means getting to know the world around me, to live with it and work in harmony with it. When I do, I enjoy the hike and the things I learn along the way are much more fascinating. And it is the same with Jesus. When I walk in harmony with Him and learn from His example, life is enjoyable as well.
So what’s your name? If you are a Christian, wear the name “Disciple” as well. Learn from Jesus and His life and, most importantly, apply it, because He wants more real-life disciples…. not just ones on the trail.