Other than your parents, what mentors have had the biggest impact on your life? Have you ever taken the time to express how thankful you are for them?
A good mentor believes in you, prays for you, challenges you, and will be there when you fall down. A great mentor sees your potential and knows how to draw it out.
To hopefully inspire you to give thanks to your mentors, I’d like to publicly acknowledge a few of my mentors.
Thankful for my first mentors
Dr. Doug Pratt was the first mentor who challenged me to teach. I was scared to death of public speaking because I nearly failed the college class and vowed I would never speak in public again. But he encouraged me and promised to stand with me. If it didn’t go well I could check that off the list. It turned out that he saw something in me that I didn’t see; I enjoyed teaching and people enjoyed listening to me. Thanks, Doug for calling me off the bench into the game.
Who is a mentor who believed in you when you didn’t believe in yourself?
Mentors provide challenge
George Granberry challenged my negative belief that I’m not good at theology. He patiently worked with me as I wrestled, for the first time, through some of the key theological issues of the church. I do not consider myself a theologian, but George gave me enough confidence that I was able to attend seminary and pass all the theology classes. Thanks, George, for challenging me.
Who is a mentor who challenged you to try something you didn’t think you could do?
Mentors give you a chance
I failed my persuasive speech in college. I literally sat down in the middle of it. Shane Bennett believed I was better than that and gave me the chance to speak every day for 90 days straight on college campuses across the midwest. Several campus leaders told me I was the best visiting speaker they’ve had. It culminated with the chance to speak in front of 5000 students at a conference. I was scared spitless. Literally. I felt like I had cotton balls sucking up all the saliva in my mouth. But I did it and received a standing ovation. Thanks, Shane for giving me the chance.
Who is someone who gave you a chance?
Swiss Army Knife
While in seminary I hired a career coach to help me see if the direction I was heading with my life was a good idea. Bill Hendricks started as a hired coach but became a mentor and friend. He called me a swiss army knife because I have many skills that are ideal for starting new projects or organizations. He’s helped me over the years navigate changes in my career to find ones that best use my strengths and experiences. Thanks, Bill.
Who do you have in your life who will tell you the truth?
Fifteen minutes could change your life
Dr. Steve Brown of Keylife Network was a seminary professor, mentor, and friend. He often told me, “Phil, I’m praying for you every day. Don’t screw it up!” But the place he challenged me most was in my belief in God moments. When I was struggling with a job in my early ministry years he encouraged me to be the “employee of the month” but to also be on the lookout. He quipped, “You never know when a fifteen-minute call could change your life!” Thanks, Steve for praying for me and believing in me for over two decades.
Have you ever had a fifteen-minute call change your life for good? Who was on the other end of that call? Have you thanked them recently?
Elisha followed Elijah for years. He was devoted. As a sign of that devotion, he vowed to stay with Elijah until the very end. Out of great respect, Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit so he could continue the work Elijah started and do even greater things.
The best mentors want their students to accomplish even greater things than they ever dreamed or imagined. May my life honor the belief of those who invested in me. May I pass that belief on to the next generation.
There are many more mentors I could thank, but hopefully, this inspires you to express how thankful you are for some of your mentors.
Think about a few mentors who have made you who are. Take time today to thank at least one of them with a card or a phone call.
Lord, I thank you for all the mentors you’ve used to shape me and make me who I am. May I remain grateful for them and may I honor the investment they made in me. I pray you would also show me ways to pass that blessing to the next generation. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Photo by Xuan Nguyen on Unsplash.com