God wants us to know the benefits of mentor relationships

By Jamie Wilson
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 1/21/18

If 7 a.m. on Sunday morning had a sound, it would be that of a starter pistol because between the time my family of five wakes and the time we break the threshold of church is basically a sprint.

On paper, the process is simple: wake, eat, dress …

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God wants us to know the benefits of mentor relationships

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If 7 a.m. on Sunday morning had a sound, it would be that of a starter pistol because between the time my family of five wakes and the time we break the threshold of church is basically a sprint.

On paper, the process is simple: wake, eat, dress and get in the car. In execution, the process is plagued by snooze buttons, lost shoes and meltdown over clothes - and that's just the adults. The kids add layers of delays and their own tantrums. Finally, we arrive at church where we exclaim, through gritted teeth and fake smiles, that we are ready to worship.

Those who have or can remember having kids can sympathize.

I find it best to keep my frustrated side separate from the facade I maintain at church. In an effort to be the ever-amiable minister's wife, I try to hide these frustrations. It's funny - no one seems to take to the surly wife of a reverend.

Thank goodness there are people who can see past the fake smile, as was the case with Kathleen, a woman in my church family. She approached me one Sunday morning with an offer. How about I spend an hour with her one evening a week: to talk, commiserate, to share.

I was a little taken aback. I've been asked a dozen times to teach a Sunday school class or coordinate a special event. I happily assume the role expected of me which is to help my husband in his ministry. But Kathleen's request would make me the recipient of a ministry, a position that I wasn't accustomed to.

Scripture speaks to this idea of mentoring many times and specifically to women in Titus 2:3-4. God wants us to share our life's experience with others so they can be encouraged, but also so that we can provide an element of accountability to those relationships around us. Kathleen does that for me, and I can tell you that this mentoring relationship has meant more to me than any other formal spiritual education I've received.

It made me think of how many others of us need a Kathleen in their lives. Not just ministers' wives or mothers, but businessmen and women, single adults, preteens and every other person on Earth. Scripture tells us that such relationships yield benefits for both parties: "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." (Prov. 27:17, NIV)

We need people in our lives that will see past the images we project to the imperfect people who need reminders of God's love. We need someone to be that person in our lives, and we need to be that person in someone else's life.

Who is that person for you? What steps will you take this week to mentor that person?

Email Jamie H. Wilson at faithmatterssumter@gmail.com.