Here is a thought-provoking verse from the life of Jesus. He has been out walking the countryside of Galilee, seeing firsthand the financial, social, and spiritual poverty of the people. Jesus is arriving in a new area, and the people are once again rushing out to see Him.
“And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.” (Mark 6:34, KJV)
Here’s what I find interesting. Jesus sees the poverty of the people, and what does He offer them? Government agricultural subsidies? Miraculous cash from a small boy’s basket of five dollar bills and two small coins? A plan to Occupy Nazareth? No, the most powerful Being in the universe starts teaching the people. Jesus could have done lots of things the people might have seen as more substantial, yet He perceived their greatest need to be the truth He could bring them.
It makes you wonder what exactly He said that day, and if we might be more effective in reaching out to people if we focused more on spreading the same truth Jesus did. Certainly we see financial, social, and spiritual poverty much like Jesus did, yet He didn’t seek to change their circumstances so much as their values. He changed their pursuit from satisfying themselves to finding their role in building the Kingdom of God. A person’s greatest need is not financial, but one of direction and understanding their purpose in life. Jesus’ goal was to help people understand what life was meant to be about and help them grasp fulfillment at that level. It’s kind of fun to realize that Jesus had been part of creating these people, so He was uniquely qualified to come back and say, “This is what I really had in mind for you all along.”
This concept should direct our efforts to use our times in the outdoors to mentor young men and women, including fatherless boys who really are a modern example of “sheep without a shepherd.” Even our most intense efforts are probably not going to change their circumstances, but we can help them realize a purpose in life that encompasses more than their present circumstances. It challenges us, as mentors, to model that purpose that God has given us and to pursue a better knowledge of the truth so those being mentored can see how it works. It is that combination of example and teaching that will have a lifelong impact on a young person. Gifts of cool outdoor gear and exciting times in the field are never going to be life-changing by themselves, but they can be a vehicle that gets us to the place of sharing truth about our purpose in life.
That is why we are really looking forward to the Faith in the Field youth programs that will be starting here real soon! If you are interested in being a mentor or leading your own son through our program, please contact us. We would like to add you to our list of people to contact when the program materials are ready.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org