I was at an event here in Nashville a few months back where a number of music artists—mainstream and Christian—were gathered. One guy in his late twenties had on a replica of the 1977 Led Zeppelin U.S. tour shirt. The black one with the masculine angel on the front and the tour stops listed on the back. Amazingly, rock t-shirt companies still make and sell that shirt—35 years later.
I walked over to him and introduced myself and said, “Hey, man, you might not care about this at all, but the Fort Worth stop printed on the back of your shirt? I was there. 12th row center floor—Led Zeppelin The Song Remains the Same Tour—1977.” Halfway expecting a polite, but get-out-of-my-face “oh, cool,” the young musician literally lit up and nearly shouted, “No way, man! Really? You saw them?!” Feeling my cool factor rise sharply, I went on to answer his questions and talk late 70s classic rock with a young artist who hadn’t even been born yet when I was at that show. He and I made a connection. Why? Because I saw a potential thread and risked a little.
Earlier this year, I had arrived early to speak at a men’s retreat and was invited to share at a weekly men’s breakfast at a church. As I surveyed the room of men eating and talking, I quickly realized this was all retired men who gathered each week, really enjoyed it, and looked forward to coming together. They shared prayer requests of various ailments and test results and one man prayed. Then the minister introduced me. As I was walking to the podium, I had one of those moments I have had many times where God leans over and whispers, “Uh, son, change of plans. Skip the notes and just say what I tell you to say.” I’ve learned the hard way to just do what He says. It feels crazy, but it always works.
Almost acting as a translator or interpreter, I said, “Gentlemen, you are all much older and wiser and godlier than me, but I sense you may have isolated yourselves from the young men in this church, because you may no longer feel relevant or useful. I want to tell you that those men who gather every Sunday morning here desperately need you. Most of them don’t know it, but they do. And if you begin to step up and pour out, they will respond. I want to challenge you this next Sunday morning to spot a young husband, dad, and fellow church member and walk over and introduce yourself. Just tell him you are available to him should he ever need anything. A listening ear, some advice, some help from someone who’s been down their road and survived. That’s it, gentlemen. The men in this church need you and I believe the Lord wants you to know that.” . . . And I sat down. The minister affirmed the challenge and several of the men agreed they needed to step up and pour out.
Whether it’s Led Zeppelin or a stack of pancakes, whatever age you are or road you’re walking, we are called by Scripture to step up and pour out to a younger believer, a brother in Christ who needs some encouragement, support, and connection. To know that in this faith walk with Christ, he is not alone. As you are not alone. Step up and pour out.
As one piece of iron sharpens another, so friends keep each other sharp. —Proverbs 27:17 ERV