The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
–2 Timothy 2:2
Elijah not only encouraged other people, but he also mentored other people. What is mentoring? It is pouring your life into somebody you think will make a significant impact on the world, to spend time encouraging them and training them, teaching them the life lessons you have learned.
I am so grateful for the two mentors that God gave me. One of my mentors was Dr. Hendricks at Dallas Theological Seminary. My other mentor was Dr. W. A. Criswell. I remember when I was fifteen years old and felt God’s call to be a pastor. The first thing I did was tell my parents, and the next person I wanted to tell was my pastor, Dr. Criswell. I met with him in his office and told him what God had said to me. Dr. Criswell said, “Robert, I want you to spend this summer working here at the church. I want you to learn everything you can about the church because one day it’s all going to be yours.” And I remember him praying for me as he prepared me to become the pastor of this church one day. He poured his life into my life. Then I remember when I was twenty-one, fresh out of college, Dr. Criswell hired me to be the youth minister here. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but he knew it would be invaluable experience. And I am so grateful for what he taught me. If I have had any impact at all anywhere, it is because of two men who took the risk of investing time in me.
We are all called to pour our lives into other people. What does it take to do that? Let me give you three keys for effective mentoring because I believe God has placed somebody in your path who is worth the investment of your time. First of all, the mentor must take the initiative. Don’t sit around waiting for somebody to call or text you and say, “Hey, would you mentor me?” No, the mentor takes the initiative. Second, the mentor must be available. You may be thinking, “I just don’t have time to do this. I’ve got too much responsibility at work or with my family or at church.” Well, think about it: You have to eat lunch, don’t you? Why not invite your protégé to eat with you? If you’re running an errand, invite them to come along. You can carve out time to have a conversation with somebody you’re mentoring. Third, the mentor must serve as a model of godliness. If somebody were to spend a day with you, what would they learn? Would they learn the significance of the Bible, that it’s the centerpiece of your life? As they watched you, would they learn the importance of prayer? Would they learn what it means to be a loving spouse and a loving parent? If somebody walked around with you for a day, would they learn how to share the gospel? People forget what we say, but they rarely forget what they see.
If you come to the end of your life and you are able to look back and say, “By God’s grace I have left a legacy of faith,” then you will have unlocked the secret for a successful and, more importantly, a significant life.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Leaving a Legacy That Lasts” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.