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Monday, July 18, 2011

Mentoring 101, part 2 - 1 THESSALONIANS Series (2)

Be a Barnabas

How many of us have needed a modern-day Barnabas to come alongside to help us make the most of opportunities? How often do we sit dejected on the sidelines of life because of a failure? We gave up on school, and ourselves. We opened a business, but it didn’t grow. The program we tried to manage was a disaster. A marriage or family relationship disintegrated. We don’t have the right connections to get to that proverbial “next level” everyone is always talking about. Where is that brother or sister, like the first-century Barnabas, to look for the forgotten, to believe in us and our “call,” to hope for the best for us when we cannot do it for ourselves?

In this current age, we need a lot of Barnabas-minded people. Deserting our dreams has become an epidemic. The silent sufferers are hidden in the shadows of the success of others. The challenge lies before us every day. Take a good look around you; scan the landscape for the bypassed, the overlooked, and the rejected. Look for someone who has failed or is discouraged. So, I implore you, be a Barnabas to someone.

Pursue a Paul

Much is being said in the literature today about mentoring. The need, no doubt, is being aggravated by sociological changes in the family and in our schools in the 20th and the 21st century. There is a breakdown in many homes, where children may have an absentee parent or feel that their closest friends are online. In the “days of old,” sons worked alongside their father, and daughters would learn about running the household alongside Mom. All children would learn not only skill and competency, but also about behavior and values. Where does this happen today? A formal secondary education no longer prepares us for real life; it prepares most of us for college, instead...hopefully. There is no place to learn the practical application of the skills that will propel most of us forward.

Look for a moment at the list of individuals in the New Testament who were impacted by the apostle Paul: Timothy, Titus, Onesimus, Luke, and Silas? Their foundational training in the Scriptures did not take place in an isolated classroom. It was given in context and application as the teams went from city to city, and as they DID the work.

Who, is these turbulent, confusing and malevolent times is your 21st century Paul? Who have you pursued? Who have you approached? Mentoring takes place best as the one who desires formational input pursues. “Will you mentor me?” is probably not the right question. Mentoring takes place as we watch, listen, serve, follow, learn, read, glean, emulate others.

In the Old Testament, looking at the story of Elisha, this process took place as “the two of them walked on” (2 Kings 2:6). “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you,” embodies the resolve Elisha had in pursuing Elijah to teach him.

Each of us needs to pursue someone who excels in some area of life or leadership. Thanks to 21st-century technological advances, the whole world is open to us through various forms of media- print, interactive CDs, the Internet, conferences, and networking. This allows us to connect with any leader anywhere

Mentoring is not something someone does to someone else; it is the result of a diligent pursuit of another’s life. So, look for a Paul. Look around. Key in on someone you respect. Prayerfully ask to be led to influencers who can help you in your pursuit to become a lifelong learner.


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