“I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are living according to truth.” 3 John 4
A few years ago, a college mentor reached out to me after having not been in contact for years. We had been incredibly close during my undergraduate experience, but life happened. I moved away, got married, had a family, and after over a decade of living in different states – aside from a Christmas card and an occasional email – we no longer talked regularly. Every couple of years we’d catch up on all the big happenings in our life, and I’d find myself again soaking up her wisdom.
One day, after one of our catch-up sessions, I opened up an email from her and saw these life-giving words, “I am so proud of the way you’re choosing to live your life.” Tears brimmed my eyes and spilled over onto my cheeks as those words, rich with the love of a mentor, spoke life over me.
She viewed her guidance, her discipleship, and sacrifice of time and resources as an investment of love into my life. And because of her love of the Lord and love for me, all these years later I am still walking with the Lord (imperfectly) but striving to live my life in a way that is according to truth.
I love how Jesus’s words in the Great Commission tell us that, as we go, we’re called to make disciples, “baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I [our heavenly Father] have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Third John 4 shows us the beauty that comes from obeying the Great Commission: “I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children are living according to truth.” There is a pure joy in knowing your work for the kingdom has produced good fruit. There is deep satisfaction knowing the work we’re doing today, the love we’re sharing with others, will one day take root and grow something faithful and true.
Because isn’t that the way of the disciple?
To know the deep riches of God’s love, to have been shown and taught it during our early years of our faith, to allow it to transform our lives into something beautiful – and then to one day be the one who takes the hand of a younger person in their faith and help them navigate the joys and heartaches of this life?
To be a disciple of Jesus is to also be a disciple maker – and that is a good and life-giving calling, worthy of our utmost attention.
Years later, I am now modeling the relationship I had with my mentor. Over cups of coffee and open Bibles, I meet with college girls in my church. We talk about life, sin, relationships, career choices – you name it! Sometimes we talk specifically about Scripture, other times we share about what’s going on with our lives. And I often walk away praying, “Father, keep her close to you. Let these moments not return void. Help her see your great love for her and allow it to change her life forever.”
I don’t yet have the satisfaction of seeing the fruit God grows in their life, but what I do know is this: the great love God has called us to is one I can’t keep to myself. And I am confident in this, the one who began a good work in them, will complete it (Philippians 1:6). And I look forward to the day where I can send them an email and say, “I am so proud of the way you’re choosing to live your life”