Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Merit of Mentors

Imitate me as I imitate Christ. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:1, GWT

Parenthood is NOT for sissies!  Although I always knew I wanted to be a parent some day, I could never tell you specifically why or what I expected it to be.  In retrospect, I can see how God allowed me to go through certain trials in order to make me a better mother to the little people He entrusted to me.  But there are still many times I feel completely inadequate, begging the Lord to cover over my shortcomings in the eyes of my children.

It has been said before, "You need a license to drive a car, but any idiot can be a parent."  That leaves one wondering where we can look for training or growth if we truly take this role seriously.  Add to that role the huge responsibility of raising a well-adjusted child in spite of chronic illness or unique challenges, and a parent really needs a lifeline!

This is where Jesus left us a tremendous gift.  Not only did He faithfully, redeem us, but He mentored twelve clumsy guys and modeled how to do the same.  This wonderful method of of imparting wisdom and truth to others was a hallmark of Jesus' public life.

Here are some notable focal points of Jesus' mentoring:
  • Jesus always shared the wisdom that is beyond human wisdom.  There are so many things we come up against in life that are beyond our understanding.  We especially wrestle with deep philosophical and theological questions in times of crisis.  Jesus used those practical opportunities to draw people closer to the Father and gave them the opportunity to enter into intimate knowledge of Him.  That equipped those who followed Him to live through things like abuse, imprisonment and persecution with something that transcends the tragedies of this world.  His knowledge was meant to be shared.
  • Jesus met people where they were at and hung out in their midst.  I first heard from Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."  Jesus understood that people can't gain an eternal vision without first having their immediate crises addressed.  He validated them and their concerns, then pointed to the awesome hope that lay beyond their oppressing problems.  His approachability was refreshing.
  • Jesus let his actions speak for themselves.  All the lecturing in the world wouldn't mean a thing in our understanding of God had Jesus not walked a mile in our shoes.  He knew what it was like to be human, with all of its difficulties, and yet had his eye solidly fixed on the Father.  He unjustly suffered, so we can rely on his words and his example when we undergo the same.  His genuineness was admirable.
  • Jesus had an incredible ability to discern when a person needed tenderness and when a person needed a kick in the behind.  Despite meeting oppressed people who found themselves in a variety of tough circumstances, Jesus knew that candy-coating things wasn't always the right tool to use.  There were times when people were appropriately overwrought and convicted in their own situation where Jesus offered great tenderness and comfort.  But there were also many times where Jesus called people out on their unwillingness to face the truth or change.  His honesty was a solid  model.
  • Jesus spent more time at His Father's feet than He ever did mentoring.  Aside from the 30 year training period God put His only Son through, there was still an immense amount of time that Jesus spent alone with God when he was active in his mission.  Oh, how rich Jesus' mentoring was because he had spent forty days in the desert fasting and praying.  He made a habit of getting up before sunrise to spend time with the Father.  And he separated himself from the crowds and disciples with regularity.  His priorities were a goal worthy of replicating.
So, how does that all translate into our daily living now?  God surely wouldn't have wasted the last three years of His Son's life on earth mentoring disciples unless it was an important model.  If this awkward mix of fishermen, tax collectors and average guys needed to be guided to grow into the fullest potential God had in mind for them, why shouldn't this process be one we both go through and eventually help others through over time?

Parents of children with varying diagnoses desperately need this mentoring.  Beginning by spending time with someone more mature and experienced, a mother or father continues to grow, not only in the daily care of that child, but also in personal spiritual growth.  That personal enrichment that the parent gains is then naturally poured into that child as well as others around the parent.  Eventually, if the mentoree is willing to personally mature, they will also become a valuable mentor.

Pray:  God, thank You that You made us for relationship with both yourself and each other!  Help me to grow by this example of mentoring that Jesus left me!

* Look for future posts on mentoring as SNAPPIN' MINISTRIES continues to develop a formal mentor program across the nation for parents of children with special needs.

**Join us this Thursday evening, 7:30 PM, CST as we enjoy a live chat with one another about PARENT MENTORS at

1 comment:

  1. Awesome...I have been so blessed by so many "mentors" in my journey. It's a precious gift!