Last night I had the opportunity to share on mentoring with the adult class at our VBS. (Which was epic this year!) One of the things the Lord shared with me some 15 years ago or so was. Every Timothy needs a Paul. Every Paul needs a Timothy. And every Barnabas needs a Paul.(And vice versa.)
Rather than make this a very long writing for a Saturday, I am going to break this up into a couple of parts. That thinking and subsequent decision is the result of listening to one of the best builders I know. A true Paul (Or Barnabas.) in my life.
First a couple of verses.
- Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one,Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls,For he has no one to help him up.
I am thankful for the men (And women.)who have sown into my life. (Paul to Timothy.) Thankful for the people who allow me to sow into their lives.(Timothy with Paul.) And grateful for those who are my peers. (Barnabas and Paul.)
I truly believe that the value of the Christian walk is enhanced by the process we might call mentoring or discipleship. When I first gave my life to the Lord, a man decided to take me under his wing. (Others did too, but they wanted to lean on me, use me, etc..) Bob was a kind man who had a great family and just made me feel like I was part of it. Without judging me, he helped me through a lot. Whether it was coffee or helping him plow snow, he was there.
Both of us benefited from the relationship. (For instance I was able to reach out to one of his friends and share my past and my hope for the future.)The question that was there before me, was, would I be willing to accept his help in my life. Would I seek his counsel? His guidance? The benefits of our relationship helped me whether the storms of a divorce I was in the midst of, financial uncertainty and more.
I probably would not have called it mentoring, but might have used the word disciple at some point.
At some point I had to evaluate what I was “agreeing to”. I was not sure of the benefits. Wasn’t sure of the value. Up until that point I “drove my own car” and I was not looking for help.
Over the years I have had many mentors. Each one added value to my life. All had a “heavenly agenda” for my life. For me to be a better believer, a better man, a better father and husband. God has an agenda for your life. He uses people to implement it! (Stop thinking agenda is a 4 letter word!)
One of the key things is to have people who believe in you. (Before you read this, let me say believing in you is not letting every dumb or hurtful thing you do slide. As I tell my kids, grandkids and friends we are better than that.)
But,I needed someone to believe in me! Everyone desires affirmation. Affirmation is good, uplifting. It is bringing you from a place that is not “so healthy” to a better place. The mentors in my life, believed in me while understanding all the junk, the imperfections and “bad things” in my life. (They were not going to let me live there but they believed in me.) They listened to what I was passionate about. They listened to my dreams, my goals and my super immature ideas and even those things that bothered me.
In the midst of it all they gave objective input to help me make changes in my course. They shared with me how they viewed what God was doing in my life. (Acts 15:36-39; 2 Tim 4:11) It wasn’t always easy for them…or me.
Imagine taking a “wild animal” that had been roaming around the world the way they wanted to and you decide the “animal” is going to be worth saving. That was them in my life.
They took me at my worst and sowed into my life. They did not bypass the difficulties. They made me face them and get better.
I am thankful for each and everyone of them. Whether it was my friend Bob in Rutland in the early years or those now.
(Here are some that added value to my life. These are some of the “Paul’s” who mentored me. Bob was always kind towards me. Another Bob was a little rougher on me, but walked me through some dark times. When Jack set his hand on my knee in Bennington Vermont and said, “son”. Wayne meeting with me in Dorset during a bad time. Rick vowing to always greet me with a smile. Keith asking me “what do you see?” Brian saying “there are some great things to come.” Darryl coming from Washington and saying “you add value to my life”.)
A mentor isn’t there to just say “yes” to everything. The implementation of heaven and transformation ought to be foremost on their mind for you. With love and kindness.
(More to come…)