Those diner mornings were special, an hour or so a month, on a busy road in congested New Jersey. Debbie would always order oatmeal, then she would load up the steaming bowl with fresh blueberries that she pulled from her purse. I tore open tiny packets of sugar and peeled back foil off of mini containers of half-and-half and stirred strong diner coffee in my shallow, white, iconic diner coffee cup. The coffee was sweet and the conversation was rich as we chatted with the icy, black parking lot outside of the window to our right.
The reality is that if you love Jesus and are spreading His love and building His Kingdom, the enemy is at you. Debbie had been through so much stuff that she carried an armory of wisdom and encouragement with a testimony to counter almost any hardship. She told her stories with zeal and optimism, and not just a little humor. Her shoulders shook when she laughed, and they shook a lot.
Debbie had been through so much stuff that she carried an armory of wisdom and encouragement with a testimony to counter almost any hardship.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come."
In the weeks between our diner engagements she would fill my mailbox with photocopied comics, lists of topical Bible verses and inspirational stories with colorful stickers all over the padded manila envelopes. She mass-mailed these packages, usually with a sweet or two thrown in, to college students, far-away friends and probably to prisoners, too. She never looked into bulk mailings, but she could have. This was pre-Facebook. She sprinkled God’s Word, laughter and testimonies of God’s faithfulness all over, via the U.S. Postal System.
Titus 2:3-5 talks about our toast-and-jelly diner dates;
“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
I crossed over to become an “older woman” one day a while back.
The books of I and 2 Timothy and Titus demonstrate Paul’s particular interest in these two gifted young men of God. Acts 16:2-3 says, “The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of (Timothy). Paul wanted to take him along on the journey.” Henceforth, Paul mentored Timothy. He did so with Titus, too. In Titus 1:4, he refers to him; “To Titus, my true son in our common faith.” Paul took them under his wings in their youth and fathered them spiritually.
There’s information out there on how to mentor people, and I’m sure that people have made a science or art of doing so. I don’t want to say much about the “How To’s” because I like the Holy Spirit Model for mentoring. This model says “Follow the Holy Spirit.” I Corinthians 13:1 is mentoring in a nutshell; “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” Shelve teaching agendas, especially in the early days of a mentoring relationship. First, just love people, and care, and encourage them. Anything else is a bonus. This is doable for most of us, and takes the intimidation out of becoming a mentor.
First, just love people, and care, and encourage them. Anything else is a bonus.
It’s very easy to believe the lie that you don’t have time to pour into other people. I suspect that if you ask God how you could manage this, He will make a way. Sometimes reaching out to other people takes faith. “God, I’m doing this because I think you want me to, and I’m trusting you to make a way” is a great prayer!
Mentoring is yet another way that the Holy Spirit helps us to be creative in the use of our time and resources. A young mother with a baby will have very different needs and schedules that a college student. God is great at matchmaking. It may be that God is asking you to give a little of your time and heart to someone who will thrive under your encouragement.
My friend, Debbie, has certainly gone on to bless other women over the years. How blessed I was, and now how determined I am, to bless others back. I pray that you will avail yourself to make a profound impact on someone by pouring His goodness out on them. I’m certain there is someone around you who just needs a little regular love and encouragement. God is always wanting us to reach out. May the Holy Spirit lead you to the person that He has ordained for you to bless.