“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you have received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise you have believed in vain. For what I received, I passed on to you as of first importance ….” 1 Corinthians 15:1-3
Do you notice in this section of Paul’s letter to the church of Corinth the sense of passing on information? Have you ever sensed how dependent we are on each other? If you’re good at something, chances are, other people helped you along the way. A musician is usually trained by another musician. An athlete achieves excellence because she trains hard and is well coached. A wise man became that way because of books, schools and centuries of accumulated wisdom to draw upon. No matter your field, you are probably good largely because of the work and help of others!
No one is truly self-made. We all stand on the shoulders of others. Consider some notables in our history of faith. Moses mentored Joshua, Elijah mentored Elisha, and Paul was mentored by Barnabas and then in turn mentored Silas and Timothy. In each of these relationships we see the importance of teaching others and being taught by others. PERSONALLY, I AM GRATEFUL FOR A NUMBER OF PERSONS.
In the Baptismal service, which includes both Baptism and church membership, not only does an individual make certain vows, but the congregation promises to help the individual live into those vows. This service recognizes the fact that human beings are social creatures who need one another. Thus, we have a God-given calling to both mentor others in areas of our strengths and be mentored by others in areas of our weaknesses. We are not left alone to discover our own way, but we are led forward by others and we lead others forward.
This calls us to two different avenues of reflections. First, who am I learning from and what am I learning? It is good to surround ourselves with positive role models. Professionally, learn from those who are excelling in your area. Relationally, find those with strong marriages and families and learn from them. Seek out persons who are stalwart friends and learn the art of friendship. In ministry, are there persons whom you admire and respect that you can learn from.
Second, who am I teaching and what am I teaching them? One of the great legacies we can leave is making other people stronger in their lives. While none of us a perfect in our personal and work lives, we all have gained wisdom through our experiences. Sometimes that wisdom can be shared through concrete guidance. Other times, wisdom comes from knowing how to ask perceptive and appropriate questions.
Both mentoring and being mentored can occur through very formal relationships. In other cases, it comes through more informal conversations. Either way, lives are enhanced. Personally, I have been blessed through both avenues. I am grateful for all who have shared with me their wisdom. I also am honored that others have asked me for mine. It is my prayer that God will both lead you to people who will help you grow into the image of Christ and lead you to others whom you can help develop into the fullness God created them to enjoy.
If you would like to view past editions of Moments with Mike, follow this link: https://corridordistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/