“Then Jesus said to him, ‘Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you.’” (Matthew 8:4 NLT)
Last week I was privileged to spend a few hours with my mentor and friend who recently turned 90 years old. His dementia is worsening, but while we were together, he seemed very in tune with what the Lord was saying to him. Today I’d like to share a few things he said that struck responsive chords in my heart. I hope they do for you as well.
Jim, my mentor, said: “Jesus went to where the people were. He didn’t seek the crowds but was ever searching for those individuals He knew needed Him.” The above verse is an example. Though a large crowd was following Him, He stopped when a man with leprosy approached Him. That’s still true today. You may feel as alienated as a person with leprosy, but Jesus is seeking you, desiring to draw you to Himself. He wants to heal and give you wholeness and completeness in Him that you’ve never dreamed possible.
Then Jim said: “Don’t dwell on the pots and pans, focus on what’s cooking.” Jesus lived a focused life. He was on mission to seek and to save the lost. He wasn’t bothered by the “pot or pan” that housed the soul He so desperately desired to bring to Him, He zeroed in on the heart that needed to be redeemed and brought home to the Father. He is always drawn to the need that is “cooking” in a person’s heart.
Another gem: “What would you say if you didn’t care what anyone thought except Jesus?” How often we skirt the proverbial issue when speaking with someone, fearing we’ll offend or be turned away. Why does that matter? It’s never about us. When speaking to someone about Jesus, He’s the point, not our feelings. So what if someone gets upset with us? If we can plant a seed in a Christ-honoring way, and someone gets upset in the process, that’s their issue, not ours.
And another: “Satan knows what appeals to us. Why can’t we learn from him and exalt Jesus in such a way that people are drawn to Him?” What do you think that might look like? Satan appeals to our pride, our lustful flesh, our desire for “things,” none of which satisfies long term. What we’re all looking for is something that will last; something that will satisfy our soul; something that won’t disappoint. Jesus is the perfect answer to all those needs.
You may not like or understand this, but Jim said: “God never blesses stupidity.” Honestly, I believe he was saying that out of a lifetime of experiences that included some profound “stupidity.” Stupid means to be dull in mind. I’m not sure I know anyone who hasn’t had moments or seasons when they were dull in mind. I know I have. The Lord will save us from ourselves, including some very embarrassing and “dull” moments, if we’ll let Him.
I’ll share one more, then pick up with a few more tomorrow.
Jim said “lament,” then asked the question: “where did that come from?” Jim was a pastor for many years. He’s traveled all over the country and in different parts of the world preaching and teaching. His life has been full and fruitful, so to hear him say, as he reflected upon his 50+ years of ministry, that he had lament, set us on a course of asking some hard questions.
We served together in two churches over the years, so I knew what kind of man he was. He loved and served well, not only in the church, but in his family. Each of his four children and some of their children and their children attended his birthday celebration. He is a man who loved deeply and who was loved deeply. So, to hear him say he had lament seemed very strange.
My takeaway was, each of us, regardless of how well we live and serve, can always see areas where we failed to be all we believed God wanted us to be. That’s why grace is so vitally important in our lives, not only between us and God, but between us and others.
Blessings, Ed 😊
One thought on “A Few Hours with My Mentor”
Ed, thank you for sharing the nuggets of insight in your time of fellowship with your mentor