As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17 NIV)
I could easily have used the Great Commission here, but I have used it plenty of times to talk about the “Why” of Sunday School/Bible study. There is a mandate throughout Scripture to invest in others. This was innately a part of my life because many teachers and pastors invested in me. I, in turn, have tried to model and teach it all of my life. We need a mentor and we must mentor others! Here is one inspiring story to recognize that impact.
I met this youth when he was a freshman in high school through a youth activity at church. He was rather guarded the first couple of times like many new youth. (I was as well at that age.) I believe that God has a special purpose for each person, and I saw that in him. Soon I discovered he was an incredible musician. He loved to play the guitar. I have often shared his story as someone who can listen to a song on the radio and (within an hour) play it just as he heard it.
My wife (Katrina) and I begin spending time with him as he searched for answers. He had deep theological questions. (By the way, it is okay to say you are not sure of some answers. Just follow up and search for answers together.) He became part of the youth group along with his sister despite no parental involvement in faith or church. I encouraged him to use his gifts in youth group, at Summer camp and in morning worship through our Youth Sundays. He became a Christian and one of the leaders in the youth group.
After I was called to Pastor a church in Virginia, we stayed in touch some, but not as often. I knew he was teaching high school at one point, was a worship leader at a church, continued to tour some with his band for Christian events. He got married to his wonderful wife and became a father of five. Last week I got the rest of the story when he asked me to join him for lunch.
After catching up on his family and mine (He met our daughter, Tara, as a toddler and saw our son, Joe, soon after he was born), he told me something I didn’t know. He and his father didn’t get along. Before he came to our church, he would lock himself into his bedroom after school and contemplate ways to kill himself for several weeks. With tears in his eyes, he thanked me for being there to encourage him, invest in him and show him that God has a plan for his life. He has been investing in others ever since. He is a man after God’s heart!
My wife and I could probably share some of the memories we have of those early days with him, but we wouldn’t have known how God would use our investment to change a life and see how he has changed others. The little things you do to invest in others, show God’s love and show them God’s purposes do matter. Who is your mentor? Who are you mentoring? Thank you my friend for reminding me that iron sharpens iron!