Yesterday I had lunch with a long-time friend, Dr. George Wirth. George served as Senior Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta for over twenty years. Not only has George been a friend, he has also been a mentor to me. Because George is a few years older than I am, he has been someone I could learn from.
I am reminded how much we need someone like that in our lives. Businesses have been using mentors at work for a while, but I think we need spiritual mentors, too. As a pastor, I am asked to do this from time to time. A church member will ask to meet with me and talk over a spiritual struggle. After listening, I try to ask the right questions. Eventually I will share my best understanding. My hope is to help them make their way a little further down the spiritual path of life.
I think we can fill this role in each other's lives. Our Reformed tradition emphasizes "the priesthood of all believers." This not only means that we can each have direct access to God through Jesus Christ, therefore we do not need an intermediary like a priest to intercede for us -- it can also mean other things. Perhaps it could refer to how we can be there for others as they seek to follow Christ.
Maybe the best model would be for each of us as followers of Christ to have someone we mentor, as well as someone who mentors us. In that way we would be like a lake in which water flows in and out, keeping the life (and the creatures) in the lake alive. This is different from a body of water like the Dead Sea in the Middle East in which water only flows in, but never out. We need not only to receive but to give in order to be all that God created us to be. When Jesus said the following words, I don't think he was only talking about money: "Give, and it will be given to you." (Luke 6:38a, NIV) So, who might God be asking you to mentor?
Prayer for Today
Loving God, we thank you for those persons you have placed in our lives who helped us find our way to you. Show us how we can be a mentor to others. And help us to find those who can guide us along your paths. We pray this in the strong name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.