Over fall break, I went back to my church at home and visited with some good friends. Some of them I hadn’t seen in months, and some I had not seen in quite some time. In particular, I spent most of my time visiting with a person who has influenced my life greatly. He had taught my Sunday school class during high school, but some days we would just talk about our lives. He did not know this, but I learned a lot from him, especially when we were just honest with each other about our spiritual lives and talking about how to continually be faithful in high school and in college.
My bible professor, Dr. Mark Owens, said in class that there needs to be three different kinds of friends in your life. You need a Paul: someone who can influence you and mentor you, someone that who is more spiritually mature than you and can provide wisdom from experience. You need someone who is relatively as spiritually mature as you that you can walk the journey of faith with. You also need a Timothy: someone who is less spiritually mature as you, someone that with the gifts God has provided you, you can influence their faith and have an impact in their lives.
Most of us have a Paul-like friend and also walk in the faith with others, but do you have friends that are your Timothy? Do you know a friend or friends that may be new in the walk that need some guidance? And if you do, then how do we approach them or help them out from our own spiritual experiences and knowledge? How can we impact their lives?
I am usually afraid to give people advice because I think that I should wait until I know everything. But the truth is, I will not know everything. Paul could mentor Timothy not because Paul was so good but because of how God worked in his life. Paul shared his testimony and his own failures in order for Timothy to see God’s grace in Paul’s own life. So, no we don’t have to have our lives together to be able to mentor others, but we can share how Christ is revealed in our own brokenness. Let’s actually be honest about our brokenness to others for once and not expose our fake ‘have it all together’ persona.
We are called by God to care and love the people around us. We also may never know what influence we might have to others. Our life is supposed to represent Christ and what true Christianity looks like to others and to outsiders who don’t know Christ. Therefore, make yourself available to others, share the wisdom that God has given you, pray with them and give advice in love to those who are willing to listen. Let us become more like Jesus to invest in people’s lives so that the name Jesus Christ is proclaimed continually on this earth.
“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:1-2)
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13).