I remember Cobb would come to everything in the world that was going on in my life. I was a high school kid and involved with tons of stuff. I had plenty of friends and a lot to do. Of course the universe revolved around me and I gave no one or nothing else a thought. Life was perfect... not really. I went to the church up the street because it was a way for me to get out of my house just a little longer and away from the madness of the folks. They weren't bad, I just wanted to be an adult and this was all part of it.
One day at youth group the youth pastor came up to me and started talking about random stuff. Our group was relatively small but I didn't want to bother Cobb. I know that he had tons of stuff on his plate and would not have time for a single student over the whole of the group. But to my surprise he not only asked me what I was interested in, but he actually listened. It's like he shut out the whole world and put every ounce of his attention on me. In that conversation he asked about my sports, prolly cause he knew that is what was most important to me. And then at the end of our conversation he asked me if he could come and watch me at one of my events. I was stunned! Of course. That would be the best thing in the world. Did I think he would show up... prolly not.
A week later I was at a water polo game and it was comin up on start time and Cobb walked in. I couldn't believe it – my youth pastor was at MY game. It was the coolest feeling in the world. I played awesome that day and did my best to not cuss or act in a way that would make God hate me... And the best part is that after that day he continued to come to my stuff. And there were times that I would not have been surprised if he disowned me as a kid in his group. But he kept putting more and more time into shaping me.
Years later I was able to mentor students the way that Cobb influenced me. It was the best feeling in the world to give back. There is nothing I could do to repay for the time spent by Cobb in my life. I guess the question I have is, who put time into you to make you who you are today? As a youth pastor you never know who you are going to reach. Cobb had so much going on in his life that he did not have to invest into me. But he did. And I am sure he has put tons of time into other kids that fell away from the group and even God as a whole!
So, remember that the next kid that you put time into could be the one to change the world. I know that I will do everything I can to do just that because of the time that Cobb put into me relationally. Call your youth leader and show them some love. I promise they have not forgotten about you. I still talk to Cobb. He still helps me out and keeps me on the straight and narrow. Add value... one student at a time.