My father-in-law and I have lunch once a week. Last Monday our waitress, Stephanie (not her real name), seemed a little down so I struck up a conversation.
She told us the parking lot in front of the restaurant had flooded during a torrential Florida storm the day before and now her car wouldn’t start. She had tears in her eyes, so I knew there had to be more to the story.
I guessed she was so overwhelmed by what for most of us would be a small inconvenience because she didn’t have much money. I told her how sorry we were and that we would say a prayer for her when we prayed over lunch.
Then I asked her a few more questions. She is 26 years old, a single mom with 6- and 8-year-old boys, and has no family in Orlando. The father of her children isn’t in the picture—he’s a bad actor. So she’s left to raise two sons without a father figure by working for tips.
Her mother died when she was 14 and her younger brother was 8 years old. Their father did not step up. Perhaps he didn’t know how, but he failed them. She made some bad choices, but now she’s trying to do the right thing by her two sons. Yet she worries they have no male influence.
When she brought our food, she started walking away. On impulse, I called her back and invited her to join us as we prayed; she did, and I sensed that God encouraged her heart.
Then she went on to say she was deeply worried about her younger brother, now 20, who, without a positive father figure, is on the cusp of becoming a bad actor too. So I told her about the work we do with men and gave her a copy of The Man in the Mirror for him.
I don’t know if I will ever see Stephanie again. I hope so. But if not, Dad and I did what we could that day. I trust God is already sovereignly orchestrating others to make appearances in her life. And I will continue to pray for her as the Lord brings her to mind.
It’s an all too familiar pattern, isn’t it? Stephanie has five men in her life. Her father? A bad actor. The father of her children? A bad actor. Her brother? Which way will he go? Her two sons? What will become of them?
What a perfect example of why God wants us to disciple men. Experiences like this are why we can never, and will never, tire or lose our passion to help evangelize and disciple men. The mission of men’s discipleship is for all of the broken people, like Stephanie and her sons, left in the wake of misguided men. Those men have no idea of the destructive forces they are setting in motion that will devastate multiple generations.
That’s why we must urgently help every church disciple every man.
Patrick Morley is founder and CEO of Man in the Mirror. After building one of Florida’s 100 largest privately held companies, in 1991, he founded Man in the Mirror, a nonprofit organization to help men find meaning and purpose in life. Dr. Morley is the best-selling author of The Man in the Mirror, No Man Left Behind, Dad in the Mirror, and A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines.