“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.” (I Timothy 4: 12-14, NIV)
Paul is a mentor to Timothy who encourages him to be a faithful Christian leader. These words from Paul to Timothy have been close to my heart for a long time. I accepted God’s call to professional ministry when I was in college. Mentors were vital in helping me discern God’s call and continuing to understand it in my life. My parents, sisters, family, teachers, pastors, and church family were my first mentors. Since then, colleagues and the congregations I have served continue the work of mentoring. I serve as a mentor for others, too, and yet we all need a mentor—someone who walks alongside of us. It is vital as we serve Jesus Christ in the world.
I just returned from a large church gathering. It’s always great to see colleagues who are mentors and friends. And it’s always a blessing to remember mentors who experience eternal life with God. They are people who offered advice and encouragement. They are people who never made me feel stupid for asking questions or sharing my struggles. They are people with a welcoming spirit, a big dose of humility, and a gracious presence. They are people who taught me to be me—not someone else—and to celebrate God’s gifts in me and use the gifts to the glory of God.
The nature of faith in Jesus Christ is a shared experience. We cannot live our faith by ourselves because we need the interaction, encouragement, support, and challenge of others on the journey. We need to be together in worship and fellowship, in study and prayer.
It’s easy to take our mentors for granted. We don’t always realize how incredible those relationships are until we lose them, but they are a great cloud of witnesses who have helped God to shape us into more faithful, more loving, and more holy people than we would have been without them!
Remember and celebrate those who have been mentors to you:
* Parents, caregivers, grandparents, and family members – our earliest mentors
* School teachers and staff, Sunday School teachers, pastors, coaches who come into our lives as we grow up and live their faith
* Friends and neighbors who offer a faithful guiding influence
* Employers, supervisors, and co-workers who share their faith on the job
Praise God for the gift of mentors!
If you don’t have a church home or have been away for a while, consider getting back to church or trying it out for the first time. I invite you to worship with us this summer at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. We share the love and hope of Jesus Christ!