Pass It On

by Linda Strickland
Jul/Aug/Sep 2011

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. Psalm 71:18

Christian Healing Ministries recently had the opportunity to teach and minister to 250 students on the campus of Florida State University. What a joy it was to look at a room full of vital, energetic people; young people who were hungry for Jesus!

When Christian Healing Ministries receives an invitation to speak and minister at an event, we always seek the Lord’s wisdom about our calendar through prayer. While considering the invitation, the Holy Spirit usually leads us to ask the question: What fruit will it bear? The reason this question is so important is because we feel that we are called to make the greatest impact possible in the area of healing. For us, this particular opportunity to impact 250 college students was a no-brainer!

After praying with those precious young people that night, and realizing that many of them did not have godly parents or mentors in their life, my head was flooded with thoughts of ways to connect them with people who would disciple them in their faith and gifts. Unfortunately, there seem to be fewer people willing to do this.

There are so many great people who have lived amazing lives for Jesus, but now that their hair is getting gray and their bodies are not as strong as they used to be, they have decided to coast. I once overheard a conversation where someone was asking a mature member of a church to do something, and their response was, “I’ve done that for years. It’s someone else’s turn now.” When asked if they would mentor someone to do it, the response was a clear and firm, “No, I’ve paid my dues and done my time!”

The problem with this kind of response is their unwillingness to pass along the rich wisdom they have garnered over a lifetime of ministry goes completely against not only what Jesus said, but what he did. At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry he hand-picked 12 men and said to them, “Come and Follow me” (beginning in Matthew 4). These men became his disciples and Jesus loved and mentored them for 3 years. At the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth, he gave his disciples The Great Commission (Matthew 28), where he commanded them to go and do what he did, making disciples themselves. In other words, “Pass it on!”

Paul was another great example of mentoring, captured in scripture through his relationships with Timothy and Titus. Not only did Paul mentor these men, but he also taught them how to keep ‘passing it on.’ In the book of Titus (chapter 2) Paul writes a wonderful letter to Titus addressing several things, including who should be teaching whom. He encourages Titus, as the leader of the church, to teach the older men and women, and likewise the older men and women are commissioned to pass it on to the younger men and women.

Although I believe that this lesson is just as relevant today as it was then, it seems to be a greater challenge in this day and age. Mainly, I believe the challenge is one of time. Today, our oatmeal is ready to eat in 60 seconds, our pictures can be developed in 60 minutes, and our houses can be built in 60 days. We are a culture that is used to getting what we want instantly. We aren’t accustomed to working patiently, or waiting on anything – even a hamburger. If you have ever been involved with being mentored or mentoring someone else, you know that it is well worth the effort and time.

One of my favorite biblical heroes is Daniel. While we don’t know who mentored Daniel, it is evident by his commitment to God that he had come from a Godly heritage. The people who raised and mentored him took God’s command in Deuteronomy seriously:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7

Daniel was a teenager living in Jerusalem when he, along with some of his friends, were captured and taken to live in Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar decided to take the best and brightest of these young men, and use them to advance his kingdom. The king knew that in order to make these young Hebrew men obedient and loyal he would have to change them. Although the king was a pagan, he understood mentoring. Through a 3 year process he tried to change their way of thinking, eating and worshipping.

Daniel could have taken the easy route and decided that, “When in Babylon, do as the Babylonians do.” But Daniel’s objective was obedience (to God), in spite of his environment.

At one time, 3 of Daniel’s friends refused to worship a statue of the king, so the king had them thrown into a fiery furnace, but God protected them and no harm came to them. Another time, because he continued to pray to God when he was told not to, Daniel was thrown into a lion’s den, but God shut the lion’s mouths and preserved Daniel.

What was the secret to Daniel’s (and his friends) success? I believe they had been mentored - and mentored well! These young Hebrew sons of God knew who they were because they knew whose they were. Knowing who they were made them live confidently and courageously. Daniel and his friends learned these valuable lessons from someone!

There are many stories in the bible that leave me hungry for more details, and this is one of them.

When I look for a mentor, I look for someone who has climbed the same mountain I am looking to climb. I want someone who not only knows the path, but is also familiar with the puddles and ditches. From their own life experiences they are able to teach and encourage, while giving me glimpses of what lies ahead. I want someone who has learned from their mistakes, enjoyed a few successes and is now willing to share with me what they have learned.

At Christian Healing Ministries, I have 2 extraordinary mentors, Francis and Judith MacNutt. Over the 5+ years I have worked with them, I have gleaned incredible wisdom and have been empowered beyond my imagination. One of the most amazing things about the way that they mentor is that, like Jesus, they don’t ever feel threatened by the ones they are guiding, and are always more than willing to share their wisdom and experience.

“I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.” (John 15:15b)

Once, while on a trip with Judith where we both were speaking, I was asked by someone what it was like to be in Judith’s “shadow.” This question completely took me off guard as I immediately responded that I was not in her “shadow”, I was in her “light!” Judith has never made me feel less than, as she is constantly encouraging me and pushing me forward (sometimes to my discomfort).

On many occasions I have heard Francis humbly say that he wants to be known as a great “talent scout”, surrounding himself with people who are more gifted than he is. Francis and Judith are both constantly raising up and empowering leaders and teachers. To me, they are perfect modern-day example of “passing it on.”

We are never too old to be mentored and never too young to be a mentor. We all need each other. This is all part of God’s original and perfect plan for us, and the central component to one of His greatest gifts to us: community.

As someone once said, we should all be able to look ahead of ourselves and see shepherds, and look behind us and see sheep.
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Linda Strickland Linda Strickland is CHM's Associate Director of Ministry and Assistant to Judith MacNutt. Magazine Issue

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