Today’s post comes from Radical Mentoring’s Executive Director Kevin Harris . . .
A treadmill . . . a rowing machine . . . an elliptical . . . the piece of exercise equipment doesn’t really matter. With each one, no matter how hard you work, when you finish, you’re still in the same spot as when you started. If I’m being transparent, that feels much like the season of life I find myself in right now . . . busy, tired, and not making much progress. Summer baseball and a family health issue combined with my work not to mention a few new aches and pains (I guess I’m getting older) have led me to do a little self-assessment and reflection. And guess what I realized? I’ve been leaving no time for me and Jesus. Yes, I’m listening to some sermons via podcast and sprinkling in some worship music but its all becoming the background music to my (self-inflicted) busy life.
So the other morning, I grabbed my Kindle and began looking for something to read. I landed on a book I read once before, Speaking of Jesus. The author, Carl Medearis is a Jesus-follower with a huge heart for the Middle East and specifically for introducing Jesus to leaders in the Arab World. Carl loves Jesus . . . not Christianity. He focuses his time on ‘pointing people to his friend’ instead of on the ‘us vs. them’ mentality plaguing us today.
In Speaking of Jesus, Carl explains how we often get caught up presenting Christianity to others instead of just introducing them to Jesus. While probably not his original intent in writing the book, for me it served as a beautiful reminder of my friend Jesus . . . who I had left behind in my quest to conquer the seemingly important but ultimately insignificant matters dominating my calendar. It was a powerful reminder and I wanted to share some of my insights with you as I would venture a guess I’m not the only one who has been in this spot recently.
- “We have an unfair advantage. We know the Creator. We’re friends with the King.” – In almost every area of life, we all look for advantages. Yet, I found that in my faith, where I already have the greatest advantage, I was leaving Jesus on the sideline.
- “We have salvation insecurity. We want to measure, scrutinize, and secure our place.” – Others call it eternity amnesia; either way, I had it. I’d replaced spending time with Him with spending time simply doing things.
- “Follow Me” is a matter of personal contact – Jesus gives us a simple invitation with simple instructions.
- “My faults don’t keep Jesus from me, but they keep me from Him.” – Too often, I allow my sin and shame to build a wall between Jesus and myself.
- “We spend so much time laughing at Peter for sinking, when in reality, every single one of us would probably have stayed in the boat.” – Peter had what I’ve lost: the wonder of Jesus.
So, my plan for this summer is to reintroduce myself to Jesus. As Medearis writes, “living a life like Jesus must begin with being a student of Jesus.” I am going to dig into the Gospels . . . to see how Jesus treated others, to read what He said, to better understand who He was and is today.
Scripture: You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately tried to keep it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did – Jesus crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:1-2, MSG)
Mentor Tip: Remember, mentoring groups are not places to debate theology and religious practices. You are the embodiment of Jesus to your mentees. It is your life and faith that attracts them to you . . . not what your ability to talk -ologies and -isms.