Have you ever read the children’s book, When You Give a Mouse a Cookie? It’s a cute little book with a cute little mouse eating a cute little cookie. But, have you ever had a mouse in your house? Rodents in your home are not cute—nothing about them is cute!
Recently, I found a rodent in my house and as a single female I didn’t know what to do. I thought about all the people I could call and then I thought about their reactions. Maybe it’s just me, but telling a friend, a student, or a coworker there was a mouse in my house and that I needed help to get it out wasn’t something I wanted to do. I could imagine all these things they would think of me and of my house. In the end, the person I called came immediately armed with tools to get rid of the mouse and other tools to prevent any more from coming inside. He treated me with great dignity.
Why am I telling you about a traumatic night with a mouse in my house? It had me thinking about our students and who they call when something happens that could be embarrassing, humiliating, unknown, scary, or just frustrating.
Do they call their college pastor or campus minister? Do they call the adults who teach them in a small group? Do they call their friends or professors or parents? More than likely they call the person who is able to give wisdom, bring “tools,” act kindly, and walk with them no matter what is ahead.
Are we, as college ministers, those people? And, are we teaching our students to be those people as well? When there is a crisis—that porn addiction is back, an unexpected pregnancy occurs, a parent dies, a heart is broken, a scholarship is lost—have we taught our leaders to respond with grace and compassion? Do they have wisdom or know where to find it? Do they know how to walk with someone to help, assist, and solve issues as needed? Do they have the tools they need to stand with someone in the mud and muck of life?
Our source for these much needed abilities is the Lord. Are we spending time with Jesus to learn from Him, seek His wisdom, and gain compassion? As we spend time with the Lord we will grow in all these areas and we have the privilege of teaching our students to do the same. While we may not have all the resources and tools to solve a situation, the ability to walk with someone, to comfort them, to pray with them (not just for them), and serve them compassionately will go a very long way during a crisis.
Mice in the house aren’t cute and neither are the crises that hit life in the most unexpected moments. What an amazing honor Christian’s have to walk with others and show them Jesus along the way!
All of this leads us to ask: Are we showing Jesus to those around us and being compassionate and gracious as He is? Are we teaching our students, who are watching us, to do the same? May each of us be like the man who rescued me from the mouse in my house.
Dr. Beth Masters works with college students at Mississippi College where she is the Director of Christian Life and Ministries. She also serves as a Ministry-Based Faculty member at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in the area of Collegiate Ministry. Beth loves young adults, baking, and coffee.