Disciples ready, mentors needed

Published 12:08 am Saturday, May 18, 2019

By Nathan Decker

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’”

– Jesus in Matthew 9:36-38

I picked Lewis, he didn’t pick me. I’m not sure he would have. I was an obnoxious 18-year-old college student who knew it all. He saw that, but he also saw potential in me that I couldn’t. Lewis knew how to ask questions that poked holes in my unsecure certainty while giving me enough rope to hold on to faith. I remember our conversations about life, leadership and church. I always had this feeling like he had pulled the rug out from under me without making me fall. Lewis was a great mentor.

I’ve had several mentors in my life from Mrs. Smith, my high school English teacher, to Dr. Steve Plymale, the pastor who helped me understand my call. Great mentors know how to ask difficult questions. They tell inspiring stories while listening to you find yourself in your own. They push you to be more than you are while accepting you just as you are. Mentors are the combination of leaders, coaches, counselors, and friends all wrapped up into one dramatic human being who seems as non-anxious and hope-filled. Mentors help us succeed.

The lack of mentors costs us dearly. Children grow up with role models absent of inspiration. Youth grow up without hope and direction sinking their lives in a quagmire of apathy and abuse. Adults repeat the phrase, “it is what it is,” sacrificing living to barely surviving. God instilled in us the desire to follow someone worth following, to find meaning and purpose in sharing with someone our journey. Disciples are ready. Can they find mentors?

I believe they can. I see them in the schools busy grading papers. I see them in the patrol cars riding around our neighborhoods keeping us safe. I see them in the pews sharing a hymnal. I see them in the uniforms of Boy Scout and Girl Scout leaders. I see them in grandparents who not only spend to spoil grandchildren, but share time to teach. I see mentors everywhere from which disciples pick.

The choice is theirs. Remember, I picked Lewis. He was willing, but he didn’t pick me. Disciples pick mentors. Jesus called his disciples to follow, but they made the choice to do so. The biggest decision any mentor can make is to be willing to be picked. Be picked to be asked the hard questions. Be picked to share your stories and listen to theirs. Be picked to love and give mercy and guidance when they make mistakes. Be picked to be a mentor. After all, it’s what Jesus would do.

In learning you will teach, in teaching you will learn.”

– Phil Collins

NATHAN DECKER is the pastor of High Street United Methodist Church. Contact him at 562-3367.