Friday, April 26, 2019

Outdoor Object Lesson 95: Elephant Training

Key Text

"not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:25 (WEB)


One of the biggest animals in the world is an elephant. You have probably seen pictures or video of them and maybe you even gasped at how massive they can be. If you have ever seen one in person, than you know that pictures or video do not really give you a good idea of just how large they are. The first time I saw a live elephant in a zoo I was stunned speechless, even though I had seen numerous pictures. His trunk was like a fire-hose and his legs the size of pillars. Everything about the elephant is so big, except one part. As he turned I couldn't help but laugh at the comically small, wispy tail.

Many animals, including reptiles and others abandon their young to survive on their own. This is not so for African elephants. It would be easy to assume that newborn elephants could easily survive on their own because they are huge. Newborn elephants weigh about 200 pounds (91 kg)! But they need a lot of help. Adult elephants work together to raise their young. Mothers work together to help newborns find their footing, they also teach them how to nurse. The entire herd slows their pace when walking so the young can keep up. The older elephants teach the young which plants are safe to eat, how to eat them, and which ones to avoid. Raising the young is an effort that requires the whole herd.

It is similar for Christians. We must show other Christians how to live in Christ and we do this through our changed life. This is part of the fruit we bear. This is not a passive activity only. We must actively be involved in helping show others how to live like Jesus. One of the best ways to do this is by studying the Bible together. Christians meet together regularly to study the Bible, pray, and spend time together. This is not simply for fun. It is so that we can learn from each other how to be more like Jesus.

If you are not meeting together with other Christians how can you expect to learn and grow? Just like the young elephants, we must learn how to grow from those that are more mature, or our faith will die. As you grow in Jesus, it is important that you show others how to get to know Jesus and how to be more like him. This not only helps them, it also helps you by keeping your focus on your own relationship with Jesus. If you do not disciple others as you mature in Christ, then you are not truly living as a Christian. We need each other, we need to be a part of a Christian family. That is the way Jesus intended it.

What person in your life helped you learn how to follow Jesus?

Are there any benefits to us if we show others how to be disciples? If so, what?

Who are you discipling?

Who are you pouring your life into?

1 National Geographic Society, "African Elephant," National Geographic online, (2019), accessed May 21, 2019 from

Written by David F. Garner
Photo credit: garyskirrow via