By Trudy Loots
A good friend of mine recently asked very candidly, “How are you able to discern when God is telling you to mentor or pour into someone specifically?”
I had to smile and then I actually began to think on it. It wasn’t something that I had ever sat down and made a formula of. Quickly, I began to think of relationships that I knew God called me into that had failed miserably. I thought that would prove that it’s never a simple thing. But I couldn’t think of any!
Then I tried to explain how I personally sense the Holy Spirit when he provokes me to pursue a person/relationship. That didn’t help much either, because that’s such a subjective thing. We all encounter God in such unique ways that it wouldn’t be fair to reduce His influence to one method.
Finally, I tried to reason with my friend that it was based on finding things I had in common with that individual and seeing how my past could relate to either their past or their present. While this is usually a great conversation starter, that’s not necessarily the “special sauce” that forms the bond she was addressing.
Truthfully, God does it. It takes the divine intervention of an all-knowing God to strike up a sense of urgency within you that can only be settled by a steadfast dedication to another person knowing they might never give you anything in return. It totally goes against what our culture preaches. Society says “take what you can, while you can”. But God says in Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
God is able to take two separate individuals, coming from two separate upbringings, having very separate emotional scars and knit their souls together in such a way that glorifies Him. It allows him to get the glory. If we could simply credit it to compatibility tests or friendship speed-dating, we would wind up with people we chose.
Now I’m going to say a super-cliché christianese line here… investing in other’s lives for the pure sake of loving them like Jesus would will never return as a void investment. Like I said in the beginning, I couldn’t think of any relationship where I undoubtedly knew God had called me to it that went sour or was a waste of time.
I say all of this certainly not to toot my own horn but to encourage you today. Who is it that God is giving you a nudge to invest into? How long have you been ignoring that nudge because you’re “too busy”, “they won’t like you” or “you’re not spiritual enough to help others grow”?
If you don’t already have someone you are intentionally investing your time and soul into, begin praying that God would politely nudge you towards the person He desires you to mentor/befriend. You don’t have to have a list of 20 people. In fact, Jesus gave the perfect example of how much he cares about just even one person in the parable of Luke 15:1-7