Last week I received the news that a mentor from my high school years had died. Dr. Bruce Motter was the youth leader at my church where my family attended. I have also had the pleasure of staying in touch with him over the last 40 years. The last time I saw him was two years ago when I met with him and his wife Mary Ann, at their church on a Sunday. It meant so much to me to have them interact with my younger daughter, who was the same age that I was when they were my youth leaders.
In the spring of my last year of high school I knew that I would be attending Bible college in the fall to pursue preparation to one day become a pastor – Dr. Motter knew this too. At his own initiative he asked me to listen carefully to his teaching each week, take notes, then the following week I was to stand up in front of the group and give a summary of the previous week’s teaching. In this way, he was teaching me to listen more carefully, paying close attention to not only his content but his teaching style. He gave me just enough “pressure” because the next week I would have to summarize the whole thing publicly. He was also giving me the opportunity to speak publicly about the Bible (something I would be doing a lot as a pastor!) and then we would together review how I did week by week. Did I mention that I was only 17 at the time?
At almost any age we can begin to invest in and influence someone who is younger. More specifically we can encourage a younger person in their faith, in their trust in the Lord and in their gifts and abilities, especially when they are unsure. The investment of your time and attention, even in small amounts, with a younger person, can bring about a multiplied harvest in God’s kingdom – people you may never meet will be grateful that you did.