Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers
Advice From a “Seasoned” Man
What a difference 70 years makes.
In 1944, 18- & 19-year-old men jumped out of airplanes or troop carriers and faced battle with our nation’s enemies.
They knew what they were doing. They were afraid, yes, but that didn’t affect the job they did!
When I was 19 years old I certainly thought I was that smart, competent, and equipped for the task that was set before me – studying to be a pastor.
That thought didn’t fade through the next eleven years that I was in college and seminary.
But it turns out that I knew next to nothing about it.
I wish someone who was in my shoes now 25 or so years into being a pastor would have set me down and given me advice.
I needed advice from a “seasoned” man. And maybe I was given that advice long ago.
But I needed someone to rap me upside the head to get me to listen to that advice! I didn’t have that, either.
God Provides Mentors
Throughout the history of God’s people, God has provided mentor relationships for some of his well-known leaders.
David had Samuel (among others).
Solomon had David.
Elisha had Elijah.
Paul had Barnabas.
Timothy had Paul.
As I look back at my younger self, I can now see the mentors God had put into my life. A 6th grade teacher. A pastor during my teen years. A professor at college. Three very different professors at seminary.
Unfortunately, I was too pig-headed to recognize their mentorship.
But their advice I do remember, even if I didn’t follow it too closely at the time. Those mentors are now all gone from my life. But the advice they taught me is still with me today and I rely on it now more than ever!
Their advice was born out of their own experiences as pastors and teachers in parishes through the years.
They taught me the importance of active listening. Not just listening with the goal to answer or refute, but to actually hear what the other person is saying in order to understand them better.
These mentors taught me the vital skill of daily prayer and meditation on God’s Holy Word. The temptation for a pastor, especially, is to read God’s Word for “work” – to build sermons, prepare Bibles studies, etc. But they taught me to actually read God’s Word in order to just listen to what God is saying to me!
I wish I would have listened to their sage advice sooner. Thankfully, God has been patient with me and I’ve been given the time to put their advice into practice.
What would you say to your younger self, now that you’ve got years (decades) under your belt?
If you are so led, share some of that advice in the comment section below!
Heavenly Father, thank you for the mentors you brought into my life. Forgive me for not listening to their advice sooner. But thank you for giving me time to listen now. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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