Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity. 1 Tim 5:1-2
I got to thinking about some people that have made a difference in my life. I’ve mentioned before my grandmother Swanson and Aunt Sarah, but they are both family.
Looking outside the family I can remember Jerry Welch.
Jerry was a Sunday school teacher when I was a young boy. Though I don’t remember any lessons he taught, I do remember him. In my mind he is someone I have a pleasant memory about.
He never caused me any harm at all; he is someone I just admired for his stand in the faith.
After my parent’s divorce, mom and I moved into some apartments in Baytown, but I had been going to school in Highlands. How does a single parent get her child to a different school district?
The answer was Sal Mendoza.
Sal was cool. He drove a Torino and listened to rock music like I did. He was a bachelor and had a pretty girlfriend.
He drove through Highlands on his way to work so I rode with him.
If I look back in my memory, Sal leaves the impression of being like some Hispanic movie star. He had a swagger when he walked and was just a cool guy.
He, too, never harmed me or caused me any distress.
Another manly influence in my life was my 10 grade science teacher, Robert Kirkley.
He, too, would give me a ride home from school. He had a way of explaining science that made me love the subject.
I remember the time I broke my toe in P.E. and didn’t go to school for the day. Mr. Kirkley stopped by our apartment to check on me.
Now let me make it very clear that these men were not child molesters or predators. These were good and decent men that helped a “fatherless” kid along.
But the greatest influential men in my life were from college.
I went to a Christian college and some of the professors really had helped me find direction in my life.
The greatest of these was Leon Gaylor.
Brother Gaylor, as we called him, was the Bible teacher and a local pastor. He taught the regular Bible class but also the preacher class.
I learned so much from him and his encouragement to learn more has driven me to study God’s word as a daily part of my life.
I admired this man of God so much that I asked him to perform the marriage ceremony for Linda and me, which he did.
It’s important to have a mentor – someone you can look up to, respect, and learn from.
Though the Bible doesn’t mention the word mentor (except the Message Bible) the principle is still there.
One great example is Eli and Samuel.
Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon.
One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle near the Ark of God.
Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!”
“Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”
“I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he did.
Then the Lord called out again, “Samuel!” Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”
“I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.”
Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before. So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”
Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. 9 So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.'” So Samuel went back to bed.
And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!”
And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.” 1 Sam 3:1-10
Eli helped Samuel listen to God.
I believe Jerry Welch was a Christian, but don’t remember too much about him.
As for Sal or Mr. Kirkley, I have no idea about their belief.
And though I singled out Brother Gaylor, there are many more Godly men and women that had a great influence on my life – directing me to listen to God.
Be a mentor.