(Pictured is John and his amazing wife Babs when they came to visit our daughter Siri when she was born...they brought ice cream. Enough said.)
John's life verse:
Acts 20:24 "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace."
John was a mentor to me before I knew I needed one.
I think Peter probably needed a mentor. (I'm not talking about your son, your brother or your friend…I'm talking about Simon the fisherman, turned Peter the disciple of Jesus.)
Peter's greatest strengths were also his greatest weaknesses.
He was passionate; passionate without regard to or knowledge of the full picture.
He was "all-in," sometimes causing him to speak boldly on something his own actions would later contradict.
He was impulsive, not afraid to walk on water…until he was walking on water!
Then one day, Simon Peter is out fishing with his brother Andrew and Jesus is walking along the shore. He calls out to them, "follow me" and the rest is history!
Jesus was a Mentor for Peter before he knew he needed one.
(Disclaimer: I am not trying to be crude by boiling down this relationship as simply a mentor/mentee relationship…Jesus is not a mentor. He's the Savior of the World who taught us everything we need to know through the life he lived, the death he died and his resurrection power!)
- we need someone to call us up into something we never knew we could do.
- we need someone to hold us accountable - so that our talk and our walk are consistent.
- we need someone to graciously help us understand where we went wrong so that we can get back on track.
The gospels record many interactions between Peter and Jesus.
From Peter walking on water with Jesus to Peter's denial of Jesus to Jesus restoring Peter after He rose from the dead.
Jesus spent a lot of time with Peter, teaching him and giving him opportunities to fail and succeed because He knew what lay ahead for Peter. He knew that Peter would be charged with moving the gospel message forward once Jesus was gone…but Jesus also knew that Peter wouldn't be alone in this endeavor.
The book of Acts records Peter, now filled with the Holy Spirit (which incidentally is the same Mentor, just a different form) being used by God to do just what Jesus had called and trained him to do. Many of Peter's former weaknesses had become strengths under the guidance of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus saw something in Peter that Peter didn't see in himself.
Now, John wasn't Jesus and I'm not Peter, but John gave me the gift of his time and his experience and helped me learn all I could. Here are some of my reflections on our time:
- John saw something in me that I didn't see in myself and it didn't threaten him, it excited him.
- John gave me opportunities to explore who God created me to be, what He created me to do and then…John allowed me to do it.
- John encouraged me, giving me gentle feedback when needed.
- John knew the power of words and the impact for good or bad they can have on a person; he chose them carefully.
- John judged no one, but saw people on a continuum of experiencing God's grace
- John placed people before policy, tasks or anything else. It was all about relationships with John.
Because of John's willingness to pour into me, giving me opportunities to fail and succeed, I got to discover that my life's work would be for the cause of Christ in one way or another. I am so thankful for the investment he made in my life.
I am blessed to have a handful of these relationships in my life. These are people who have encouraged me, challenged me and pushed me forward in faith; making me the person I am today. I am grateful for each of them.
Who has invested in you?
Who are you investing in?
In this month of gratitude, take time to thank those who have poured their life into your life.
Take time to encourage the people around you; help them see something they can't see for themselves.
Mentors come in all shapes and sizes, but the best ones are those who are trying to look more like Jesus (and I don't mean a beard and sandals).
Jesus' call to Peter was, "follow me."
Pastor Bob Anderson once preached a sermon where he asked these questions:
Who are you following?
Who's following you?
May you seek to follow Jesus closely, sharing life with others who are doing the same, and may you take seriously the fact that there are people following you.
The question is: where are you leading them?