Last Thursday we returned to our alma mater for a one-day conference. This conference is held every year for pastors, and I get the privilege of joining my husband for some fantastic teaching. It’s such a nourishing time. Every year we leave with our heads and hearts full of teaching, encouragement, and renewed passion. Almost before we walk out the door, the date is reserved on our calendars for the next year. There are several things we look forward to every year, but not much tops this particular day.
But, it’s about more than just the training. It’s about the mentoring. I graduated over fifteen years ago. My last religion course was first semester of my senior year. Yet these professors still know me by name. Their secretary, the precious and amazing lady who makes this conference possible, was my Sunday school teacher 19 years ago. All of them still invest in my husband and me. They greet us with enthusiastic strides across a room to say hello, check on us, and give us hugs.
I can spin that thought around and think of other people who have crossed our paths over the years. The youth we have led. The couples we have mentored and encouraged. The church members in whose lives we have invested. Oh how I love hearing from them! How I love knowing where they are now and participating in their lives. I might not be close enough for daily involvement anymore, but it’s so rewarding and encouraging to see God working through those with whom we’ve been allowed to mingle over the years.
There is a key to all of this, though. That key is keeping in touch. Think back to the people who have mentored you over the years, whether formally or informally. Do they know where you are today? Have you talked to them recently? Do they have any idea what God is doing in your life right now?
Allow me to let you in on a little secret: They want to!
Mentors come and go. They fill our lives for a time, and then that time passes. In today’s transient society, few of us truly have the opportunity to stay near everyone who has invested in us throughout the course of our lives. But, that does not mean we have to completely walk away.
As I type this, I cannot help but think of the various people who have invested in me over the years. Older mentors. Peers. Church members. Church leaders. Family friends. The list grows in my mind with name after name after name. I smile as I think of them. I want them to know about that smile.
What about your mentors? Do they know? Do they know where you are today? Do they know what they’ve meant to you over the years? Do they know the fruit of their investment?
Our former professors and Sunday school teacher thanked us for attending the annual pastor’s conference. They thanked us! Here we were overwhelmed with gratitude for the effort they put into hosting the conference every year and continuing to invest in us, and yet they were the ones thanking us for coming.
Yet I can understand that. When someone I’ve invested in seeks me out to ask for prayer or ask my opinion or just to say hi, my joy overflows. I love it! My gratitude knows no bounds.
What about your mentors. Do they know? I’m willing to be they want to. Look one of them up today, just to say hi. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.