By Mike Kemper
Interim Pastor, First Baptist Church, Dyer
Most of us can recall someone who has been a valued example for us in life, someone we recognized as “having it all together,” someone who has made right decisions, accomplished things that we ourselves would like to accomplish.
Someone we desire to pattern our own life after. For many of us, Billy Graham was that kind of person. We were captivated by his charisma, his simple yet powerful messages, his consistent, faithful ministry and personal life. Many attended his crusades, watched him on television, bought his books, read his biography. And even now that he has gone on to live in heaven, his mentoring qualities are still impacting millions!
Clearly, Jesus mentored His disciples. He spent time with them, taught them, modeled His teachings for them and entrusted the continuation of His earthly message and ministry to His disciples. The disciples were captivated by Jesus and His simple yet powerful teaching. His personal love and devotion to His followers impacted their lives and the lives of many others which changed the course of history.
For young Timothy, Paul was that kind of example and mentor. Paul, no doubt, realized that his time of life and ministry was nearing the final chapter, he was entrusting the message and ministry to Timothy. Paul was instructing Timothy, as an endeared “son” to also guard, protect and pass on this valued message to others, “faithful men,” who in turn would faithfully proclaim and pass the message on to others.
As Paul seeks to guide Timothy, he commends him for following his personal examples of teachings, lifestyle, purpose, faith, patience, love and endurance. Paul also mentioned the “afflictions” which he had endured, knowing that persecution was increasing and that Timothy and others would no doubt have “afflictions” of their own to deal with.
Paul encourages Timothy by saying that the Lord delivered him, and for Timothy to to be strong remembering the things he had learned from Paul and even from childhood, knowing the sufficiency and power of God’s Holy Scriptures. Paul reminded him to keeping his focus on Jesus and remain firmly grounded in God’s Word.
Those who know Jesus and His Word should pass on the faith to others. Thankfully, someone helped us come to Jesus, and others have helped us grow in Christ.
As we receive and embrace the message of Jesus Christ from faithful messengers who have gone before us, we are entrusted with the greatest message the world has ever known. It is ours to give, and we must be faithful to pass on this wonderful message to as many others as possible. What we have to share is of much more value than an athletic contest with ribbons and medals as the prize. The treasure message we carry must be passed on from person to person, and from generation to generation.
I’m not sure who said it, but I heard this simple statement about influence: “Who can tell where the influence begins, and where it will end?” Think about that statement. There have been influential mentors in my life — some preachers, some teachers and my own mother.
It was my Sunday School teacher when I was a teenager who said, “Come go visiting with me,” and I watched and listened as he shared his faith. The day came when my teacher said, “It’s your turn!” Following his example, I did share my faith, and doing so has become one of the greatest blessings of my life.
Hopefully, you and I can be the kind of persons to influence and mentor others to know and follow Jesus Christ.