RBI Mentoring: The Glory of a Thousand Strokes

I am a dreamer. My heart yells at me to do big things. So in response to the screaming I do them halfway, get overwhelmed and mark another thing down on the long list of “almost-dids” (the list found in between the to-do and completed lists). If I could have it my way I would do right to every injustice, give until every need was met, make sure everyone knew how deeply loved they were and I would get all of that done in one swift, bold, courageous, inspirational movement. One and done. Hence why I have failed miserably and have a short, puny list of completed dreams. Most of them being dreams that I can take zero credit for.

Today I sat down with my crazy, bold little self and my dreams long enough for something to be revealed to me: what artist completes a masterpiece in one paint stroke? Da Vinci didn’t take one swipe across the canvas to create a perfect Mona Lisa. God didn’t even create the world in one snap of his fingers, even though He has the unimaginable power to do that. With that on my heart, today I was led to Genesis 1, the creation of the world; the most brilliant, massive piece of artistry ever and it was a process. God stepped back to look at His work countless times, gloried in it, and then went back with intentionality and shaped things further towards perfection.

He gloried when day and night were created. He gloried in the dry land, the sky, the water, and the animals. If we even had the capacity to imagine the kind of creativity, the amount of heart behind it, the emotion and excitement God must have been feeling just to complete His project, we would be in even more awe of His patience and intentionality in each stroke. Today I am beside myself trying to grasp with my heart how much God gloried in the little things, in the process. Not even God took one stroke and said, “I’m done. It’s perfect.”

The whole time I read this I kept thinking of RBI Mentoring. The need in the East Austin area is the elephant in the room. There is hurt hidden behind smiles and brokenness concealed behind the walls of old housing. The need is there and it aches to be addressed, but too often we drive past it. But, just as in every community, regardless of our action or lack thereof, Jesus is doing a big work and RBI Mentoring gets the honor of walking beside Him to bring both transformation and healing in this community. We get a chance to address the brokenness. My heart is just like “okay Jesus, let’s do this all at once. Let’s hurry and make everything better”, but Jesus consistently reminds me to slow down, sit back and watch the Creator create through this mentoring program. Jesus’ hand is all over this. I’ve watched as He has moved with intentionality in flawlessly placing mentors with mentees. In this, we have encountered countless roadblocks and wondered about the process calling it a little lucky, but He called it planned. Jesus’ creativity is found in his movement through RBI Mentoring, through a baseball program, and through sports. I am humbled by the fact that His masterpiece is actively being painted by flawed people, like us, who He handpicked to unleash the Gospel in this East Austin community.

“For we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus. For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:5-6)

As mentors, we are given the opportunity to mirror our Father’s characteristics and how cool is that?! We have the joy of reflecting God’s intentionality as we purposefully pursue building a relationship with our mentee and their family with a genuine care for their lives and their hearts. We have the privilege to display Jesus and let His light shine through us as we sacrifice of our time, offer consistency, and build a relationship based off of something deeper- the love of Christ. These relationships aren’t built off of one single moment, but rather countless moments which provide room for us to be creative just as Jesus was and is.

How do we share the gospel with a child? We love them, we walk with them, we fix bikes, we belly laugh with them and we play pick-up basketball. This is what I have seen in these relationships and this is what He created us for. This is why we do what we do, in constant pursuit of these kids and this community, because we live with eternity in our hearts. While one matched mentor and mentee is glory enough, God hasn’t stopped there. Every day there is something to celebrate with RBI Mentoring- more potential mentors or mentees, more matches being made, more hearts changing. Simply put, we are surrounded by bountiful victories we just have to stop long enough to revel in the little glories of Jesus. Then we are called to continue forward with even greater fervor as if what we did yesterday just wasn’t enough because that’s what God did when he created the earth and that’s his character. He doesn’t stop moving, creating and perfecting His work.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

So from the heart of a hopeful-one-stroke artist to the next, let’s put down our paintbrushes to see the King of the universe paint for us in the glory of a thousand strokes in our community through the RBI Mentoring program.