Used with permission by author. Source:

Matthew 4:18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

When Europeans encountered the Native people of this land, they saw no schools. Children did not have to sit at desks and recite lessons. They learned by watching and imitating. They learned as their elders discipled them. They learned to think and act like their mentors.

When Jesus was ready to start his public ministry he did not start a school. Instead, he called people to be his disciples. That word “disciple” is similar to our word “apprentice.” People who are apprenticed to learn a trade are not asked to listen to lectures or answer tests. They are called to watch the master at her craft and learn to imitate her every move.

In these devotions we have spoken several times about vision quest for young warriors. The Creator often calls us to fast and pray in solitude. But God does not call us to figure out that vision on our own.

In a healthy spiritual community there are always elders who mentor young warriors. They know how to balance youthful anger with wisdom and grace. If our youth are not putting on the mantle of discipleship, learning self-denial, and taking on responsibility, then perhaps the young warriors have not seen enough elders willing to lead.The elders are the ones who are willing to say, “If you want to see what it is to serve God, watch me and do what I do.”

Are you ready to say that to the young warriors you know? You might as well say it. They are already watching you… imitating you… and following your example.

God has not called you to be a warrior forever.

Too often we think that we are irreplaceable. We tell ourselves the young people just aren’t committed. They aren’t serious enough. They aren’t spiritually strong enough. So—obviously—God wants us to go on serving as spiritual warriors forever.

It is sad to see youth who have never become warriors, but it may be even worse to see elders who have never become mentors. Like Samson, the aged warrior shorn of his locks, we say to ourselves, “I’ll go out and shake myself just as I did before.”

The day will come when we can no longer carry on the fight alone. No amount of shaking ourselves can keep that day from coming.

Jesus called ordinary women and men to do extraordinary things. He didn’t lecture them about trying to do better. He showed them how to do God’s work. Love like crazy. Share healing instead of hurt. Value those the world throws away. And—oh yeah—love like crazy.

He told them, “Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.”

Can you believe it? Jesus was thinking of you when he said that. He knew you could heal more people, touch more people, feed more people and reach more people than he had done. Jesus looked at ordinary people and told them by faith they could do amazing things.

Can you do that with the warriors in your life? Maybe it looks like they are not ready. But Jesus does not call people who are ready to follow, only willing. Are you ready to become a mentor to the young warriors of your life? Can you look them in they eye and tell them they will do greater things than you have done?

O God, I have grown weary of shaking myself. I cannot win the battles on my own. Help me to find young warriors to lead, and teach me to disciple them.