Title: INVESTING YOUR LIFE SO OTHERS CAN REALLY LIVE
Text: 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12
This new ministry of Marriage Mentoring is one I believe could be a safety net for some of you. Maybe you’ve been looking for someone to take you through the storms of life. Most couples would say they are doing OK, but their relationship could be better. That’s the purpose of the Marriage Mentor Ministry. “The purpose of marriage mentoring is to lovingly invest your life to prepare, maximize and repair marriages by walking alongside other couples.”
Every congregation has couples who are battling issues, whether it is addiction, infidelity, infertility, loss, or other serious difficulties. Sometime it seems you are on the edge of despair, looking into the abyss. Many of us didn’t see the crisis coming and had little or no control over it happening…but we can control our response to it! And that’s the safety net of the Marriage Mentoring Ministry. With hope and encouragement, and a mentoring couple who has gone through it before you, you can walk away from the abyss. But this ministry isn’t just for marriages in a crisis. (Pyramid Diagram) All of us have seen newly wed couples whose marriage was short-lived because they didn’t get a solid start. There are also numerous couples that are stuck in a rut, not reaching their full potential. We want to reach out to all these situations.
All marriages have conflict to some degree. Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new! But the redeeming factor of having gone through a conflict is that you come to a deeper sense of intimacy. Without conflict, it is difficult to peel away the superficial layers of your relationship and discover who we really are. Conflict is an ever-present component of life. I want to encourage you not to bury it! Because repressed conflict has a high resurrection rate!
Those who become marriage mentors do not have perfect marriages…because they don’t exist…they just have successfully navigated through the crisis previously and now have something to share.
You see, everyone’s heart has been wounded one time or another. Some, I suppose, would rather protect their wounds than to divulge them, so they won’t see a counselor or call the pastor, but they would be open to someone who has been through it before. I believe we are never authentic until we admit our frustrations and acknowledge our weaknesses. We are never real until we open our wounded hearts. The Marriage Mentoring Ministry is the perfect platform for that to take place!
I found the perfect Bible passage that speaks to the real heart of this ministry as it was lived out in the Apostle Paul. Read Text. This passage highlights three components of this ministry.
I. THE TENDERNESS OF A MOTHER 2:7
A. The gentleness and unselfishness of Paul as a spiritual parent shines through in this passage.
1. The imagery of a mother shows Paul’s deep affection and personal care the Thessalonians received.
2. He showed them patience, compassion, tolerance, respect, acceptance and tenderness.
B. All those are important components of a marriage mentor. We are family here at Crossroads, and it’s essential that we help one other with relationships like a mother.
C. My 3 sons are adults now, but I can assure you that the process from cradle to independence required a lot of patience (a LOT of patience)!
D. So it is with marriages. Marriages don’t mature instantly. That process comes through growing pains as we encounter problems along the way. A MM helps that process go smoother.
II. TRUE FELLOWSHIP THAT IMPARTS LIFE 2:8-9
A. Before the ink on the parchment could dry, it’s obvious that Paul’s love for them found avenues of expression. Paul met both their physical and spiritual needs.
B. A genuinely shared life is an intimate life. His words show he was willing to give everything, including his very being, in order to nurture these people in Christ! Jn. 15:13 (Greater love…)
C. If our life is the greatest gift we can give to another, it is also the most difficult!
1. You see, we naturally seek our own needs first.
2. That creates a dilemma. If we are all seeking to meet our own needs, who’s going to help us?
D. That’s why I believe MM’s are a cut above others…they are unselfish and willing to impart their lives so others can experience the same joy they have in Christ and each other!
III. THE EXHORTATION OF A FATHER 2:10-11
A. It doesn’t take being a father very long to realize there are little eyes watching you. (Dog gone it…)
B. The Thessalonians watched Paul preach and they watched him work. He modeled for them integrity, an upright character, and the Spirit of God working through him as He yielded to God.
C. He took them under wing just like a father. Whether they needed an exhortation, comfort, or a gentle kick in the pants, he did it with affection.
1. Let me say this, if you take out the affection of father out of that equation, an exhortation or a kick in the pants doesn’t feel good…it feels more like being slapped on the face!
2. Paul knew that needed words soak into stubborn soil a lot easier if it’s coated with ice cream!
3. MM’s do it by sitting down with them over a cup of coffee!
D. You can’t skip the times when you have to tell your children where change is needed. Paul knew the importance of teaching truths that would help them grow up in the Lord.
E. (slow, deliberate) You teach truth faithfully and those under your wing will thank you for it later when they see it gets them out of a fix!
1. The courage to teach with conviction along with tender consolation will result in an inspiring influence!
2. I’ll tell you…there’s no reward like seeing your family or others take off in the right direction because of your influence! There’s nothing more rewarding!
The reward that was like a fire burning in Paul’s heart was seeing them “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord!”
Every marriage must learn to walk. But they must have good models to follow.
Illus. – Dog that lost hind legs, gave birth to puppies, puppies scooted on their hind legs across the floor.
Every marriage must learn to walk…but they need those of you with healthy marriages as models to show them how.
There are hurting marriages in our Crossroads family…marriages that are not realizing their potential…and new marriages that are just learning their first steps together. They need your motherly and fatherly influence as you impart your life to them so they can REALLY LIVE!! My heart’s desire for every marriage of this church family is that we all stand the test of time and storm!! Will you be their mentor?
Illus. – Parable of the Mighty Oak