Mentors are wonderful. They impact our lives in amazing ways. What is a “mentor?” My definition is someone who teaches, trains, and equips by pouring her or her life into that of another. Poor definition? Probably. But, it’s what fits for a mentor in my life. Dr. David Black lives three hours away from me in Nelson, Virginia. He is the professor of New Testament and Greek at SEBTS (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary). He is one of the most intelligent men I’ve ever met. Just his language ability alone is amazing. He won’t give me a straight answer, but I believe he speaks at least 5 or 6 languages, either in part or whole. He’s written scores of books and he is a busy husband, father, grandfather, here at Christmas with the family…
“work-hand” (on his 120+ acre farm), professor/teacher, book writer, editor, artist, musician…
He and his wife, BeckyLynn, graciously invited my family to stay with them after an “Ethiopia Mission Trip Planning Meeting” this past Thursday night. What wonderful hospitality!
So, how could he have time to mentor someone like me…a nobody…three hours away? He does so through technology, email and on the mission field. First the web…the good old world-wide web. What do I mean? His blog of course! He’s been blogging for years! Read it here.
It is an impeccable blog. He uses it to not only mentor me, but many others. He is an avid reader and his knowledge of various topics and subjects of all kinds is simply unreal. He gives tons of information to the reader if they will avail themselves of his daily updates. Brother Dave uses that immense knowledge of his to pour into the lives of anyone that will choose to read and think (of which I try on both counts).
Secondly, email. He is so kind to me. When I email him, he is quick to respond. Usually that day or shortly thereafter. He doesn’t have time for me…remember that, yet he makes time. Bless his heart, people like me would drain the normal person, but not Brother Dave (as he asks me to call him…even though I’m most comfortable calling him “Dr. Black”). Dave has an insatiable appetite to train, disciple (mentor) those that are coming “after” him. He is preparing to pass the baton to those that will stretch and reach as he strains to make the pass.
Thirdly, Dave has mentored me on the mission field in Ethiopia.
I have been so amazingly blessed to spend great amounts of time with him in churches, houses, trucks, planes, you name it…I’ve enjoyed much time with Dave in conversation. I ask him a million questions about Scripture.
He ponders and sometimes he’ll give me direct answers and at other times, he makes me dig. He wants me to “go deep!” He will help me to do so (go deep), but he makes me work. I appreciate that. He wants to stretch me so I will become better.
Now, Dave would be upset if he read this blog post more than likely. Why? Because he is a humble man. He’s a thinker and he’s quiet and caring.
He sincerely considers what he is going to say before he says it. He would not like the fact that I’m “going on” about him. Here’s the truth. I’m not going on about Dr. Black. I’m “going on” about the Lord Jesus that lives through him. Dave has surrendered his life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Plain and simple, Dave is a disciple of Jesus Christ and Dave is simply following the example of the Master.
You know, that’s what we should all be doing. Paul poured his life into many…especially Timothy. Jesus poured his life into 12, especially three. Dr. Black pours himself into my life and I doubt he realized what an impact he has had on my life. So, I wanted to publicly thank him. Again, I know he would defer the credit to Jesus (and that’s where I ultimately want the glory to go as well), but I wanted to say, “Thank you Brother Dave” for caring about a nobody like me and my family!
So, I ask myself, “Are you mentoring anyone Kevin?” Certainly, I hope and pray first and foremost that I mentor Katy, Kandace, Clara and Andrew. I must get it right with them first. But, aren’t there others? Yes, there must be if I am to be sincerely following my Lord’s instructions. I must be “making disciples.” I must be “teaching” and “instructing.” This takes time and patience. Why? Because we are dealing with people and dealing with people and their lives and idiosyncracies gets “messy.” In fact, it’s easier not to let anyone into our lives. It’s easier to simply “go our merry way” and not take the time to “invest” and “pour.” Oswald Chambers often said that he wanted to be “broken bread” and “poured out wine” for Christ. So do I.
David Black does that! One day at a time, one hour at a time. One conversation, one email, one blog post, one encouraging word at a time. Yep, Dave Black…he’s a mentor that for sure. I sincerely pray I will do what he has done for me as I move through life with those the Lord places in my path.
Who can you mentor? Who can you train and encourage? Think through in your mind those that you come in contact day after day, week after week. Will you think about them and look at them as an opportunity to help and encourage, teach and to train? Can you see yourself as a mentor? You probably are and may not even realize it…just like Dr. Black.