Working with young men who have aged out of the foster care system does not bring the instant gratification we secretly desire when we look to help others. Feeding a homeless man or buying a backpack for a child living in poverty produces immediate, tangible results that provide the giver with immediate hits of dopamine. These aren’t intrinsically bad (and food scarcity is an important topic to address), but if the only reason we serve is because we want the personal benefits of serving, then we have missed the mark Jesus has for us.
Discipleship isn’t about immediacy or necessarily even how it makes us feel. It’s actually about doing what Jesus told us to do – “Go and make disciples…” – something that we oftentimes overcomplicate or overthink because making disciples is messy. Entering into the life of another is time consuming, emotionally draining, and can be financially burdensome. Tack on the fact that we don’t even know if we’re a very good disciple ourselves, and it’s a lot easier to take a pass on the whole discipleship thing.
Thankfully there is a really easy way to share the good news about Jesus with others – go have a meal together.
That’s what we did last month with some of the young men in our Authentic Masculinity Program. We went to a restaurant, ate some food, and talked about life. Dating, marriage, fatherhood, meal etiquette, were all conversations we had that evening. The food was great, the atmosphere was a little fancier than (all of us!) we’re used to, but the questions, the answers, the listening, the affirming, the nodding, the caring, the sharing – that’s what the evening was all about. There wasn’t a program or curriculum (not that there’s anything wrong with those) – it was just being human together.
The long term effects of our interactions with these young men are unknown. But make no mistake – the discipleship process is happening. For those who are taking seriously Jesus’ words, the immediate benefit comes in the increased intimacy we have with the Savior. As for the long term results? They’re in the hands of Jesus.
If you are interested in being a part of this incredible program please click here to apply.