Most of us have an innate desire to help others. We work overtime to ensure that the company meets an important deadline. The sound engineer makes sure the new church sound system is ready for the Sunday service. A young man loses his job and his father offers to pay his rent. These stories remind us that we occasionally underestimate our influence. In contrast, we can also use our positions or authority to negatively impact those who love and respect us—sometimes even inadvertently.
Dave Randlett was someone of whom I can say, “Because of him, my life will never be the same.” Dave, who went to heaven in October 2010, became a mentor to me when I was a new follower of Jesus in my college years. He not only invested time in me, but he took risks by giving me opportunities to learn and grow in ministry. Dave was God’s instrument to give me the opportunity to be a student preacher and travel with a college music team. As a result, he helped shape and prepare me for a life of teaching God’s Word. I’m glad I was able to express thanks to him on a number of occasions.
Alyssa, who is 6 and just learning to read, often saw her parents and grandparents reading their Bibles in the morning. Early one day, she woke up before everyone else. Grandma found her sitting on the couch, with her Bible and a devotional booklet on her lap. She wanted to follow the example of spending time with God at the beginning of the day.
According to Homer’s Odyssey, when King Odysseus went off to fight in the Trojan war, he left his son Telemachus in the hands of a wise old man named Mentor. Mentor was charged with the task of teaching the young man wisdom.
More than 2,000 years after Homer, a French scholar and theologian by the name of François Fénelon adapted the story of Telemachus in a novel titled Télémaque. In it he