I spend a lot of time speaking with young people about life. Many of them publicly project confidence and self assurance, while privately harboring feelings of uncertainty and insecurity. I often find that young people today lack deep or meaningful relationships with their parents or other adult role models, hurting their ability to trust, be vulnerable or speak openly about their concerns and their need for advice. And, unfortunately, when young people project this attitude of self confidence, it sure makes it hard to provide much advice. So it’s really hard to mentor them!
In Matthew 28:19 Messiah Yeshua commanded his eleven disciples to “Go therefore and make talmidim (disciples) ….” What is a disciple? A disciple is a learner! You have to be pretty teachable to be a learner according to the Scriptures, and vulnerable, transparent, trusting … and humble wouldn’t hurt either. It’s also important to remember that to be a talmid requires desire on the part of the learner to want to learn from someone. Unfortunately, again, all of these traits and attitudes are not too common in our American society today, nor unfortunately all that common among too many self-professing followers of Messiah Yeshua. It’s hard to make disciples today.
At the same time, older and mature believers need to be willing to be vulnerable, transparent, trusting … and humble in order to be the spiritual influencers people need, especially young people. They need also to be willing to give of their time and resources (what I call “Time and Material”) to become relevant and authentic to those who need them. It’s not easy. Unfortunately, too few older believers care enough to really try.
Maybe this is why so much of ministry is programmatic and project oriented today instead of personal. It’s all about the big event or cool project or the exciting service, when the question we should be asking is, “show me your disciples?” I have my simple “Life Purpose” statement that I will share with you: “That I may know Messiah Yeshua and make him known, entrusting to faithful people what Truth I have been shown, so that they will do the same; in order that I will finish the Fight well in the Faith, not becoming disqualified.” (Phil 3:7-10; 2 Tim 2:2,4:7; 1 Cor 9:27)
Making talmidim for Messiah Yeshua, especially among young people, isn’t easy. It just happens to be all that really matters for eternity.
Forward for Messiah,
Rabbi & Director