Voices From the Sacred Roads: Basil the Great
Incarnational discipleship happens when we grow closer to Christ by becoming his hands and feet to the world around us. It happens through missions, social justice, and service to our communities. The missions movements of the 18th and 19th centuries and the social justice movements of the 20th century have fueled this method of discipleship, but it goes back much further. Basil the Great started hostels and soup kitchens in the 4th century AD.
Basil the Great (330-379)
Along with Gregory of Nazaianzus and Gregory of Nyssa, Basil the Great was one of the three Cappadocian fathers. He grew up in a wealthy, Christian home and was educated in Antioch and Athens. After a brief period of rejecting his faith, he came back to faith in Christ and toured the monasteries of Egypt. Serving as the Bishop of Caesarea, he organized Eastern monasticism. Claiming “it is God’s will that we should nourish the hungry, give the thirsty to drink, clothe the naked, Basil incorporated service into the daily responsibilities of the monks While the monks were involved in personal disciplines just as prayer and fasting, they were also required to perform hard labor and care for the needy. He used his pulpit to preach against exploitation, excessive consumption, and profiteering, and he started hostels soup kitchens, hospitals, and ministries to those in need.
To read more about incarnational discipleship, check out Sacred Roads: Exploring the Historic Paths of Discipleship.