While I didn’t realize it at the time, I was about to make one of the three most important personal relationship decisions in my life.
First and foremost, choosing (or more accurately said … responding to God’s choice of me) Jesus as Lord and Savior is the most important personal relationship decision one will ever make … with apologies to my wife.
The second most important personal relationship decision I have made was asking Sheryl to become my wife … OK, I can’t let this moment pass without sharing that story. My wife-to-be and I had been dating for 9 months. We were sitting at Hickory House … a local BBQ place. She had just taken a mouthful of her BBQ sandwich and in that inopportune moment I asked for her hand with an equally bizarre question, “How ’bout the last Friday in February?” For just a few moments, I thought I was going to have to follow that question with the Heimlich maneuver. But alas she recovered … and with a sense of purpose … before we parted for the evening we had purchased our matching wedding bands … that fit perfectly without any sizing (Thank you sweetheart for your editorial input).
The third most important personal relationship decision I have ever made was the choice of a mentor … someone who would guide … mentor … disciple … me into a more mature relationship with Jesus … my relationship of first importance. And as that divine relationship IN Jesus grows and matures … it has a ripple … no, it has a tidal effect on my relationship with my wife … actually with all relationships. The relationship with a mentor is not one to be entered into lightly … fortunately for me God convicted me of my need and then led me to His vessel of choice.
Now all that wisdom is realized in hindsight … after 15 years … in foresight, I had no clue how important the choice and decision I was about to make truly was.
Back to the search …
My memory being what it is, it seems like I searched for a mentor for six months or so. At the same time, I was reading what I should look for in a mentor. Most every article and book I read at the time also made a big deal about the decisions and commitments one is truly making when they enter into a relationship to be mentored.
Was I really ready to be mentored?
So I began to look around using this basic search criteria …
- A man older than I was at the time
- A spiritually mature believer
- A believer whose walk truly reflected that of Jesus
- Someone I already knew and was approachable
- A good teacher … someone who could help me grow
Finding someone who fit these five criteria was a more difficult endeavor than I originally thought … my senior pastor … no. One of the associate pastors … no. Maybe someone on the church council … no. One of the older lay people in the church … no.
Then it seemed to become obvious who God was leading me to … but he didn’t meet requirement #1. In fact, he was almost 11 years my junior … while admittedly also being 15-20 years my senior spiritually.
After almost 4 years of serving in the Young Life ministry in our church under his leadership … after sitting under his intentional discipleship as one of the Young Life ministry team … after listening to his prayers … after observing his walk with Christ … well, I wanted what he had found … what his life reflected.
So I asked Corban … to be my spiritual mentor.
Lord willing, more of the testimony to come …
Do you have a story about a mentoring relationship you would like to share via comment or in a guest post? Let me know … I’d love to hear about it.