I have read several books recently and two of them ended with the concept of spiritual fathering or mentoring. Back in the recesses of my mind I remembered some great teaching from the early years of Promise Keepers by Howard G. Hendricks. I would like to share it with you because I believe it is as valid today, if not more so, than it was in 1994.
Howard was teaching on mentoring but the topic was all-encompassing. He started by saying every man reading this should seek to have three people in his life.
- You need a Paul
- You need a Barnabas
- And you need a Timothy
You need a Paul who is an older man willing to build into your life. Not necessarily smarter or more gifted than you. They do not have to have life all together, but they are willing to share their hopes, strengths and weaknesses, including their successes and failures. Someone willing to share what he has and is learning in the laboratory of life.
You also need a Barnabas. You need a soul-brother, somebody who loves you but is not impressed by you. Someone who can see through your charm, popularity and bravado, a person you can be mutually accountable to.
Lastly you need a Timothy. A younger man into whose life you can sow. Someone you mentor and do what the Paul in your life is doing for you. This is not someone you just share Christian thought with. It is someone you are willing to share the lessons you are learning in life; the good, the bad and the ugly. Remembering your Paul is not perfect and neither are you. If you wait until you are, you will die waiting, so jump on in!
It is good to note that this is not a pick and mix because you need all of these components to stay fully balanced and keep developing. So if you are missing one or more of these aspects what can you do? Firstly start praying for that person to enter your life and then be persistent in prayer. Secondly starting paying attention to who is around you, your answer may be closer than you think. Personally I can see I have focussed on the Barnabas and Timothy components, so I need to start looking for a Paul. I should have known that God doesn’t show me things just for me to write about them. So I need to pray and pay attention to who is around me to regain balance.
Interestingly this is heartland PK because by doing this it will break us out of isolation, grow us spiritually and develop our identity in God. If we do this we will mature in authentic friendships, enjoy peace, wholeness, strength and hope.