I’m taking a minute to share with you a powerful devotional written by David A. Toth. Take a moment to read it and ponder what the Lord lays on your heart. David closes his devotional with these words, “May you mentor like Jesus mentored.” — Stacy
If you are reading this devotional chances are good that you consider yourself a believer, or to use another term, a follower of Jesus Christ. Throughout the history of the church since the ascension of Jesus Christ, followers of Christ have faced the same life challenges as others in similar contexts. When my wife was diagnosed with cancer I realized that we are no less susceptible to challenges than anyone else. How we react to those challenges, however, can reflect true followership (or not).
Hearing the diagnosis was an emergency to us.
We immediately went into problem solution mode. Though that was necessary to an extent, it took a few days before we reacted as real followers of Jesus. After the initial impact of the diagnosis subsided, we realized this was not an emergency for God; instead it was an opportunity for us to hear from God, to allow Him to mold, teach, and transform us beyond our status quo. The issue was not cancer it was our spiritual formation!
I opened this devotional with this personal story in order to set the stage to present a key “Jesus Principle.” Jesus used the immediate challenges in a person’s life as an opportunity for spiritual growth. On many occasions in the New Testament Jesus leveraged an “emergency” as a mentoring opportunity.
* Mark 1:29: Upon hearing that Simon’s mother-in-law was ill, Jesus quickly went to her and ministered to her, turning this situation into a discipleship opportunity. They saw Jesus’ deity in his power over life and death, and his love and compassion for people.
* Mark 6:33: 5,000 were listening to Jesus’ teaching and they were hungry. When the disciples asked him about this situation, Jesus used it as an opportunity to disciple them about faith, the power of God, and the compassion and grace of God.
* Matt. 8:21: One of Jesus’ disciples wanted to first go and bury his father. Here was an opportunity for Jesus to disciple his follower by stressing the priority of following God over against all other issues in life, even the death of a family member. (Jesus was not speaking against the disciple’s wish to bury his father, but against that issue, or any other issue, from honoring God first). Jesus did not impo
se a predetermined agenda to mentor people. He actually leveraged everyday life occurrences as doorways to teach his disciples how to live a Kingdom life. To the people those life occurrences may have been emergencies; to Jesus they were normal and they were opportunities. As we mentor people and assist them to follow
God’s leadership we should not put people ‘on hold’ if they are having a perceived emergency. We should press forward and use that perceived emergency as a discipleship opportunity. This is not always easy, but very effective. It means we must be avid Bible readers, serious prayers, seekers of God’s wisdom, and we must proceed with humility so as to get a hearing at a sensitive time.
Emergencies put people in crisis mode and when they see God at work at that time, they will not soon forget. Your wise mentoring during an emergency can have more impact than many hours and weeks of scheduled teaching and it will sear into their memory and character.
May you mentor like Jesus mentored,
David A. Toth