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  • Shawn Thornton

Mentors Make a Difference

Tuesday - July 28th Scripture to Read for Today's Devotional: 2 Timothy 1:1-4

Today's Selection from our Sermon on the Mount Reading Plan: Matthew 6:19-24

I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted.

And I will be filled with joy when we are together again.

2 Timothy 1:4 NLT

Last month I saw Harvey's obituary shared on Facebook by one of my old high school friends. Harvey, or Mr. Hurst to most students, had been a government and history teacher at Penn High School in Mishawaka, Indiana, for over three decades. Several students who got close to Mr. Hurst were given permission to call him Harvey on weekend speech tournaments. He dealt with speech events that focused on current events or persuasive speeches.

As a sophomore, I decided to join the speech team. Mr. Hurst became my coach. He was a no-nonsense, proud, liberal man who became my mentor in delivering public speeches. Mr. Hurst and I got along great. Two or three times a week, I would stay after school to deliver a practice speech to him in his classroom. Mr. Hurst mentored me in communication. He taught me how to keep the attention of an audience. He worked hard to develop my ability to concentrate and speak without notes. That was hard on both of us.

He would walk up to me while I was giving the speech and put the tip of his nose on the tip of my nose. If I got distracted or stopped for any reason while our noses touched, he would have me start the speech again. Other times he would try to distract me by kicking the metal trash can in his room around the room, allowing it to bang on the hard surfaces of the desks, walls, and floor. If I lost my train of thought while he did that, I had to start all over again. While that could be frustrating, he made it clear that he was trying to help me be the best communicator I could be. He poured so much into me over those three years that I worked with him on the speech team.

Throughout my life, teachers, coaches, youth pastors, and others have been used by God to speak into my life. A few of these people formally discipled or mentored me. Many of them informally had a deep impact on my life by spending time with me and helping me grow in one way or another. A couple of pastors mentored me in the ministry right after I left seminary. I thank God for these dear people who spoke into my life over the years.

In Acts 16, Paul describes how a young man who loved Jesus joined his ministry team. Paul wrote two letters to Timothy many years after their ministry travels together. The second letter, known in the Bible as 2 Timothy, was the last letter Paul wrote before his life was taken in Rome because he preached the Gospel. In the first few verses of that second letter, Paul expresses his desire to see Timothy again. Their relationship was special. Throughout the book, it is obvious that Paul is pouring himself and his ministry experience into the young pastor Timothy.

One generation pouring themselves into the next generation builds stability and strength into young lives. Over the years, God has allowed me to be both a mentee and a mentor. One critical quality required for a mentoring relationship to be successful is possessing a teachable spirit.

Maybe you have a coach, a teacher, a youth pastor, a boss, or some other mentor in your life who poured themselves into you. Mentoring is a biblical concept. Moses mentored Joshua. Eli mentored Samuel. Paul mentored Timothy. Who has poured into your life? What did you learn about life through them?

Look around for people you might be able to pour yourself and your experience in today. Whether a formal or informal mentor relationship emerges, your willingness to invest in someone else in this way will be as rewarding for you as it is for them!

If you can, send an email or connect via Facebook with one of your mentors in life, take the time to write a note of gratitude for their part in your life!

God uses mentors to shape who we are and who he has called us to be!

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