Casseroles, Cookies, and Christ: A Plea for Mentors

I was happy to be meeting with a new young church member for a cup of tea. She was bright, talented, and her devotion to Christ was sincere. But it quickly became evident she had something on her mind that was hard for her to verbalize.

The years God has given you are a sacred trust from Him.

"I want to ask you something," she said, blushing. Even with my encouragement, it took her a few tries before she finally blurted out, "I want to spend more time with you. I want to go beyond our women's ministry meetings and see how you do real life. Could I possibly do errands with you? Help you with your garden or other responsibilities around the house? Maybe drive you to one of your ministry events?"

Oh my, what an endearing, head-shaking offer! And it is not because I am some sort of saint. The truth is, I'm just old! Or at least old—er! (What's your definition of old, anyway?) She knew I had walked paths that she was just starting to step foot on. She needed me to call back to her, to tell her she'd find Jesus in her journey, and that He was worth every penny, every tear, every effort expended. She wanted to hear my stories—the victories and the failures, and God's nearness through it all.

Let me speak to the older women. No matter what your age or stage of life, there are women younger than you. And that age difference brings with it a responsibility. The years God has given you are a sacred trust from Him. Steward the experience of those years well.

The young women around us need us—want us!

The young women around us need us—want us! They are hungry for authenticity. They want to be honest and open with someone they can trust (Ruth 1:16; 1 John 1:7). They have questions to ask and burdens to be shared (Gal. 6:2; Isa. 50:4). They have ministries to develop and gifts to use (Eph. 4:12; Rom. 12:6). They need encouragement to embrace the challenge of hard work and hear of its rewards (2 Chron. 15:7; Ecc. 9:10a).

Who will tell them if we don't? Our women's meetings often focus on the truly important role of homemaking. After all, the home is the basic unit of society, ordained and sustained by Him (Ps. 127; Pro. 24:3–4). Casseroles and cookies are great topics of conversations! Disciplined home management is worthy of our efforts.

But let's take it deeper than that. Let's be willing to go beyond bringing a casserole to that new mother, or baking cookies for our next women's ministry meeting, because ultimately, it's a woman's faith that matters most (Pro. 31:30b). Whenever we gather as women, let's make Jesus the focus–His grace, His power, His care for us. Let's leave with His name on our lips and His Word in our hearts.

There's a whole generation of brave, smart, dedicated young women who want to change their world for Christ's sake. They want to wrestle with theology, and serve in their community, and pester God with prayer needs (in the most biblical sort of persistent way—Isa. 62:6-7; Luke 18:1–8). And they don't want to do it alone.

You don't need to be a celebrity speaker or a renowned author or Bible teacher. You just need to know Jesus. You need to be able to tell "the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done" (Ps. 78:4). If you can't verbalize how He has worked in your own life yet, why not read a Christian biography together and talk about the wonders He did for that believer, asking Him to be mighty in your lives as well. How might He answer?

Let's be "hope-setters" for the women in our spheres of influence.

Will you wrestle and serve and pray with these precious ones? Ask God for a younger woman to befriend. Let her help you make cookies and casseroles and share Christ together while you do it! Let's not let it become an either/or—let's work to make it a both/and! Think of the joy of bringing casseroles and baking cookies and all the while going deeper with Christ together.

Let's be "hope-setters" for the women in our spheres of influence. I wonder what He will do through you and in you "that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God" (Ps. 78:6–7a).

How is ministry with other women working out in your life? Can you share any stories with us? What are your needs? Your hopes? Your dreams?

Did you discover God’s Truth today?

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About the Author

Jani Ortlund

Jani Ortlund

Jani Ortlund, Executive Vice President of Renewal Ministries, loves spending her energies connecting women with the Word of God. Serving Jesus Christ through writing, speaking and discipling are her chief passions in life. Jani and Ray, Pastor of Immanuel Church, have four married children and twelve grandchildren, and minister in Nashville, Tennessee.

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