I guess it’s true—you are never too old to learn something new. That is even true for things you didn’t want or need to learn.
A few weeks ago, I was talking with some men about mentoring younger, inexperienced fathers. Not one of us felt like we were qualified to engage in a relationship with someone else with the hope of coming alongside them to share life and help them through those gray areas of parenthood. The truth is that none of us are qualified in ourselves. Apart from Christ, we are unable to help ourselves, let alone someone else.
So, how do we effectively come alongside someone else? The answer is Christ. Before we can enter the life of someone else, we need to be firmly yoked to Christ. Being yoked to someone means coming along side of them- shoulder to shoulder. Pulling together, working in unison, aiming for the same goals. A yoke keeps two animals in close enough proximity to aide in accomplishing what is asked of them. When one tires, the other pulls on. When one strays, the other can pull the other back in line.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Jesus is the stronger, the more focused, and the tireless individual who pulls us when we tire, and he steers us back to the correct path when we stray. When we are yoked to Christ, we have no excuses. We have a person who willingly comes shoulder to shoulder with those who love Him and those He loves.
Now here is a tidbit I once learned: Belgian draft horses are amazingly strong animals that can pull 8,000 pounds individually, but interestingly, when two are yoked together, they don’t just pull 16,000 pounds combined. Together, they can pull 22,000 pounds. When they train together and pull together, they can pull up to 32,000 pounds! By design, a yoke is inescapable and ensures that two animals/individuals must work together despite the sweat and tears associated with the hard work required to move forward.
Mentoring another person requires that we willingly take up Jesus’s yoke and allow Him to be the stronger, more focused, and tireless influence. The object is to be a conduit between Jesus and your mentee so that the love, mercy, forgiveness of Christ can flow freely between all parties.
Believe it or not, each of us already has a mentor and a mentee. We may not know it yet but, we do! The question is, do you love that person enough to lock yourselves to them, knowing that as you move forward yoked together, they will see the worst and the best of you and vice versa. If you have the same goals of becoming more Christlike and your focus is on Christ, He will be yoked together with you and the burden/task will be so much easier. Are you up for the challenges?