Thurs., May 17, 2018
James 5:10-11 – Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honoring God. What a gift life is to those who stay the course!
One person can make a difference. Change things. Have significant impact on another person’s life. I have had several such people in my life. People who just showed up and made a difference. A couple examples:
- While taking a basic writing class in college, the teaching assistant asked me to visit during office hours. His agenda was not what I expected. “Why aren’t you an Agricultural Journalism major?” he asked. (I was majoring in Agricultural Economics at the time.) Based on a 20-minute conversation, I switched majors and changed the direction of my career.
- Isaac Lim flew from Singapore to Wisconsin with a message for me. Seriously. Like 9,252 miles. He was a guest speaker at the church I was attending at the time. As his taxi driver for the week, I took him shopping one day so he could buy gifts for his family. The afternoon basically became Dr. Lim informing me that I had a call into pastoral ministry. A few months later, I was in seminary. Within nine months, I began serving two churches. At one of those churches, I met future Hubby Rick. Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?
These people, along with others, have shaped my life. As wise sages and prophets, their words and willingness to coach me have changed my life. They showed up and imparted wisdom to me as God’s special messengers.
Last summer, I signed up to be a school mentor. Our local school enlists volunteers to help students. Sometimes it’s doing homework. Maybe it’s listening. Other times, it’s playing a game.
On Thursday mornings, I go to school and spend time with 4th grader Isaac. We do math, read a book, problem solve, or finish a project. Isaac likes it when we play games. Chess and Yahtzee are his favorites. Often, Isaac shares a beef stick with me. At times, I bring Isaac a little treat.
Over time, Isaac and I have become buddies. After Christmas break, Isaac greeted me with a hug … in front of his friends. He was worried when I didn’t show up another week. When an adult extended sympathy to me after my Mom died, Isaac asked if he heard correctly. When I confirmed my Mom’s death, he quickly said, “I’m so sorry.”
One afternoon this week, the mentors were invited to an ice cream social with the kids. Beforehand, the mentors shared a bit of our experiences with each other. Most every volunteer spoke of getting more out of helping the students than what they felt they were giving them. When the students arrived, they brought us sundaes with our favorite toppings and a thank you card.
My role with Isaac was to be his buddie. Not a pastor. Not his teacher. Not his parent. A sage willing to listen and play chess with missing pieces. It is not important whether I know if I have truly been a mentor or prophet to him. What is important is that I showed up. Period.
Who is someone you can show up for today?
Before Isaac left to catch the bus home, he told me it was a great one. I asked him what made it a great day. “I saw you twice today!” he said.
For this, I am grateful.
Almighty God – I’m confident we can think of several people who made a difference in our lives. Thank you for allowing these wise prophets to be your messengers. Bring into our lives people with whom we can be a mentor and friend. When these opportunities come along, may we seize them. Amen.
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