Surprising how a new day can bring in one moment joys and possibilities and in the next, confront you with news you may have expected but you hoped would never come.
As is my habit, I rose for breakfast, farewelled my wife as she headed off to golf, opened the Bible for my daily reading and then followed it with prayers to live well, care for the sick and suffering, and for opportunities to be a blessing to others throughout the day. Entering my office, I listened to my messages but never got past the first, as the wife of my lifetime mentor explained that he had passed away only hours before.
Life for all of us has its mentors for whom we give thanks. My habits of Bible reading and prayer, my desire to pastorally care for people and to live to be a blessing to others were nurtured in me by my mentor.
We used to share a little verse that said: “Only one life it will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” It is not a statement that claims universal acceptance but both my mentor and I always prayed it would. In some ways it is inadequate because it is really what Christ does, that makes life last, not what we do. He first loved us, the undeserving, and we love in return. He saves and we respond.
I think my mentor knew that anyone mentored in God’s grace would be mentored away from rebellion and sin to make a difference for good in the present.
There is a striking clarity of mind that arrives with the death of a friend. What lasts is what is most important. Having a life that lasts ought to be a priority.
Mentors in business and wealth acquisition play a role and offer help for things that don’t last and that you can’t take with you when you die and they charge you for the lessons as expected.
My mentor offered me a without-cost introduction to God and the lasting life promised in Jesus Christ. He mentored me in the love and gracious forgiveness of God. He opened my eyes to see the one who shed blood in a battle for our souls, suffering the cost personally to free us from mistakes and the guilt and shame that so often travels with them. He mentored me in Christ’s vindication and victory as he smiled through crooked teeth about the promise of resurrection to eternity. That smile indicated his faith in the lasting works of Christ, the importance of His resurrection, the assurance of God’s forgiveness and the certainty of everlasting life.
You may not believe what my mentor and I believe but does your belief offer you anything lasting to smile about? What lasts is most important and there can be few more important lasting realities than faith in God, promise of forgiveness and hope for life beyond death.
While Jesus Christ may offer a life that lasts, I think my mentor knew that anyone mentored in God’s grace would be mentored away from rebellion and sin to make a difference for good in the present. The love, forgiveness and hope God offers does tend to bring the best out of people. Such people know that this life will soon be past and what is done for Christ will last. Of course, the legacy of such lives is something that remains with us and is shared with the future with lasting implications.
All of us need a mentor in life. It’s the unspoken contract between parent and child, between coach and player, teacher and student, apprentice and boss. It is a spiritual contract between the creator and His creation, between the saving God and the saved. Recognising human imperfections, my friend knew that there is no greater mentor in life than God Himself.
Rick Lewers, Armidale Anglican Diocese