I grew up in the south, where we love people by bringing them casseroles. You break your leg . . . you get a casserole. You have a baby . . . you get a casserole (plus one for the freezer). Your car breaks down on the side of the road . . . I’m not sure how a casserole helps, but you’re getting one anyway! I have a classic casserole I bring to everyone. Because I can do it with my eyes closed, it’s an easy one-size-fits-all way to love others. But that’s the problem, right? It’s an easy way to love others, meaning it requires little sacrifice.
Recently, reading the story of Mary and Martha shed some painful truth on my one-size-fits-all approach. A quick read shows Martha doing all the work while Mary hangs out with Jesus, which true to a degree, is far from the whole story. This passage shows us what William Barclay calls the “wrong kind of kindness.” When Jesus came to Mary and Martha’s house, He was searching for peace, not the rush of crowds that usually followed Him. But Martha, in her natural tendency to prepare and provide, failed to consider what her guest needed. So, the calm environment Jesus sought was quickly replaced with the chaos of Martha’s preparations, resulting in the wrong kind of kindness. Martha didn’t read the room before springing into action. But Mary did, and Jesus acknowledges and commends her for it.
We’re not much different. Whether meeting the need of a friend or showing up for a mentee, our natural tendency is to serve them according to what comes naturally to us. Sometimes that is the correct answer, but there’s only one way to know for sure. According to Barclay, “If we are trying to be kind the first necessity is to try to see into the heart of the person we desire to help—and then to forget all our own plans and to think only of what he or she needs.”
When I read that, I can’t help but think about what will happen as I learn to lay my plans aside for the sake of what others need. What about you? How do you choose to love those around you? Do you default to what feels comfortable, or do you read the room and answer accordingly?
Relationships are not always easy. Sometimes we have to say goodbye for a season or put boundaries in place. This podcast episode from our friends at God Hears Her provided great wisdom and insight as we navigate our relationships. Take a listen or pass along to someone who may need to hear this right now; you’ll be glad you did!
We stumbled across this fun resource from Proverbs 31 Ministries. It’s a helpful printable to coach you along when you’re faced with difficult people. It poses great questions and suggestions to teach you practical ways to love those who are a little harder to love than others.
TAKE THE TIME TO BE SOCIAL
Don’t let your monthly meeting be the only time you spend with your mentees. If you want to build community with your group, try to organize opportunities for fun outside your mentoring meetings. Summer is here, so an easy first step is to host a summer potluck dinner. If your mentees are married, invite their spouses. Socials don’t need to be complicated; an easy next step is all you need to take!
Some mentors like to have a meal before their mentoring meeting, but who has time to cook and prep for their mentoring group!? Here’s a simple salad recipe you can use. Toss in grilled chicken for an easy but great meal that will be ready when your mentees arrive!
Pro Tip: Make the dressing and grill the chicken ahead of time, so all you have to do is toss everything together before your group arrives.
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