Here’s a question and a challenge for you – is God calling you to be a “wise guy” in someone’s life? What’s your next move?
Let me cheat and give you an answer. We hammer this point all the time – being a discipler is part of God’s plan for the mature Christian.
As we grow, we need to bring others along with us without waiting until we feel like we have “arrived” to begin. Your wisdom is valuable and needed right now.
But one hurdle that can hold us back from reaching out and addressing those needs is the hurdle of discomfort. We are inclined to connect with people just like us. It’s easier that way. To connect intergenerationally with a younger guy and with others who are different from us, we need to break the norm. Get outside of our comfort zones. We understand logically that anything worth pursuing requires work, discipline, and some level of discomfort, but thinking and doing are two different things.
How do we leap that hurdle?
Look for opportunities to invest in another man. Opportunities surround us, but we have to be paying attention or we’re not going to get it. It’s a paradigm shift from the “What’s in it for me?” mindset to “How can I invest in others?” Otherwise, it’s too easy not to recognize a man who would benefit from your wisdom. Younger brothers need your wisdom, and they need you to initiate. Don’t rely on group or church activities. Odds are, he is not available or attracted to them for the same reasons you wouldn’t have been at that stage in life.
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” James 1:19
Sometimes our life experience makes us feel entitled to share what we know with others before they even ask. But don’t be too quick to jump the gun on this. We tend to talk about things we disagree on rather than what we agree on, but how can you use even those topics to be intrigued rather than offended by him? Get to know him. If God gives you the opportunity to sit down with a younger man, ask questions, and listen to his answers. Earn the right to be heard by asking him what he is experiencing, rather than telling him what you think, and wait for him to ask you questions.
3. Be Willing to Get Uncomfortable
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
It’s uncomfortable to put ourselves out there, and it’s uncomfortable to share our scars, but we serve the God of all comfort. Paul assures us here that He comforts us so that we can comfort others in the same way. That’s good news! He uses our scars and our old battle wounds. Don’t let your scars inhibit you; let them be a tool to show how God brought you through those trials. Don’t let discomfort stop you from investing in another man’s life.
I’ve talked many times about my former pastor, Carey Bates. He was a man who called me out of my comfort zone, my current situation, and into ministry. I remember hearing him pray in such a way that he was willing to give up blessings for himself if God would only bless others. In the same way, I find if I take my eyes off myself and focus on others, any discomfort I feel becomes a little more tolerable. Suddenly, I don’t see the hurdle, just the goal of regarding others more highly than myself.