Thank you for helping me on my journey with Jesus.
In the middle of texting with my son during a recent Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game, I received a text from another young man. The text was simple. The message was humbling. The text read, “Hey John. No response needed. Thank you for helping me on my journey with Jesus.” In that moment, I felt like responding with the words of Paul in Philippians 4:1, “dear friend, you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work.” And please know, it is not work; it is my privilege, even my responsibility as a follower of Jesus. Since receiving that email, I have pondered how it is that I have helped this disciple follow Jesus. I may ask him someday, but for now, this is what helping has looked for me:
- Being available.
Our discipling relationship is as such that he is able to text or call me anytime – particularly when he needs to process something before reacting. Discipling hinges on a relationship where the door is always open.
- Being intentional.
We are intentional about meeting together. We have calendared time with each other.
And when we are together, I bring my ears because often it is an opportunity for venting or inventing a new solution going forward. I also intentionally bring something I am learning (from my life-experience, reading, listening to the Spirit, studying, and pondering). I also bring my questions flowing out of Luke 10:27:
“Where’s your heart?” What emotions are you feeling?” What is occupying your thoughts? What has the Spirit been saying to you? What is your heart’s cry? What is your bodying telling you? Who are you discipling? When you look in the mirror who do you see? How are you caring for yourself? Where are you stuck? How can I help you?
- Being an advocate.
I believe in this young man. I know Jesus does. So, I tell this disciple that, regularly. On our journey with Jesus we need those who pushing us, lifting us and cheering us on. To advocate means “to stand with and speak up for”. I have done that in our relationship not unlike Barnabas advocated for Paul.
One of the marks of someone following the Way of Jesus is that he or she is helping someone and someone is helping them to be a growing and reproducing follower of Jesus. I am learning that includes availability, intentionality and advocacy. Helping others follow Jesus in my joy.
Dr. John Cressman is an EMCC Regional Minister