By: Nick Stumbo
As a high school student, I was pretty sure the world revolved around me. Most of us live with that delusion for awhile. (Some of us for far too long!) I would like to tell you about a mentor and friend I had at that time. His name was Dave. Dave was a boisterous, quirky twenty-something who did ministry at our church and was a local substitute teacher. Dave was single. Dave sometimes said the wrong thing and inadvertently offended people. And for some reason, Dave wanted to be my friend.
Dave would find ways to include me in just about everything he did. Dave and I performed puppet shows together for kid’s church and walked in community parades as clowns. I went car shopping with Dave and hung out with him while he ran errands. Dave introduced me to unique ethnic foods and showed up at all my basketball games to take pictures. Most of my high-school teammates thought he worked for the newspaper and were rather shocked to find out he was just there to take pictures of me.
And all along the way, Dave shared his life with me. He talked of his struggles and his joys. He told me what he thought about God and what he believed God thought about Him. At no point in this friendship can I remember Dave telling me that he was trying to mentor me, but trying or not, he did. He invited me to learn about life and faith with him. As I look back, this friendship had a more significant impact on my life than any other relationship outside of the one with my parents.
This month, we are focusing on the topic of mentoring. I know that many of you reading this article are on the lookout for a godly mentor in your life. But the thought of becoming a mentor intimidates you. You wonder if you have what it takes; if you’re close enough to God. Let me encourage you from my experience. Dave made a difference in my life, not because he was godly, but because he wanted to be godly. Dave helped me grow, not because he had it all together, but because he opened his life to God and others. Dave taught me about God and faith, not because he knew all the right answers, but because he showed me how to ask the right questions and wrestle in faith with the realities of life.
And now, I believe in you because Dave believed in me. If you will pursue God with your whole heart, faltering though your steps may be, that very journey is what God will use to touch and change the lives of others. So get on the pursuit! And invite someone to join you along the way. You never know; you just might become their mentor.