Is there a Grandfather in the House? – Part 4 “Taking a Step UP”
- Not all mentors are grandfathers
- Mentors must recognize realistically where they are in the stages of life?
- When they do, their sons will become fathers?
- Remember, son’s DO grow up and MUST
There are two Hebrew scholars in the New Testament, who have been admired, albeit from a distance. One is Nicodemus 1 and the second is Gamaliel 2 Both were wise men, Pharisees and teachers. Both have been respected within the Christian circle, because of the level of wisdom they displayed in the days when Jesus was in Israel.
Nicodemus was hungry for truth, inquisitive and came to Jesus to learn from him. The biggest lesson he seems to have learned was of the new birth. He then, with Joseph of Arimathea, came to bring spices and ointments for Jesus’ burial.3
Nearly everyone who knows much of Paul (Saul of Tarsus) has heard of his mentor, Gamaliel, the head of the rabbinical school, where Paul learned as a young man. They have heard of Gamaliel’s wisdom and have appreciated how he spoke up for the persecuted disciples.4 They may not know a lot about him, but they will think of him in good light as a teacher who taught logic/wisdom to the man who would become known as Paul, the Apostle.
Nicodemus and Gamaliel, first were learners, then teachers, and were devout in their relationships with God. Eventually, Nicodemus and Gamaliel became mentors and helped younger men find their way. In history it is said that Gamaliel’s grandson became a Christian.
The term, Mentoring, has been around since the days of Greek Mythology.5 Simply defined it is “a wise and trusted counselor or teacher, an influential senior sponsor or supporter.”6 “Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximize their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be… It is a partnership between two people (mentor and mentee) normally working in a similar field or sharing similar experiences. It is a helpful relationship based upon mutual trust and respect.”7 What is a mentor? Mentor has been adopted in English as a term meaning someone who imparts wisdom to and shares knowledge with a less experienced colleague.”8
The life of a Christian leader can take on many turns and involve varied assignments. As you get older the options narrow to fewer choices. Add to the natural limitations, societal changes and your later years can get complicated. If you, as a leader can redefine yourself, and consider reaching out to young leaders, the Holy Spirit can multiply your options. Young men are often hungry to listen, and quite willing to take time to learn. But, they will not give much time to small talk; they want solid wisdom and powerful influences in their lives. This generation wants to make their mark and build a solid work for God.
If you will prayerfully strategize, as a Christian leader, and seek God’s help in your march toward the future then you will find that mentoring will give you value and significance. This is not about getting up a load of sons for grandfathers to mentor, as much as it is for grandfathers to be given a wakeup call so they do not think their assignments are finished.
The day will come for us all when we will give account of what we have done during our lifetimes. We do not want Jesus to say, “you did well, my son, you did a good work, but you kept hold of your assignment too long; and kept your sons in a box, when they were rearing to go to become fathers in their own right. Your assignment as pastor lasted 50 years and your son only had time to eek out 25, because you did not allow him to “grow up”. You thought it was about you; however, my son, it was ALL about me, and what I’d do through you, as my vessel of honor. You thought he was just a little boy. You taught him, and taught him, you showed him, and showed him again, and finally you branded him an Absalom when he grew impatient, could not handle your indecisiveness any longer, and ran away to start the work I was burning in his heart. He was also called; and you lost a great opportunity, and in the end; you felt abandoned, disappointed and betrayed. It was not necessary. If you’d just realized your own “seasons of life” and your own mortality, then I could have used you as a “wise old man, a sage, a grandfather.”
When our son, Cameron, was in his early 20s he and I were going to take a drive. We were taking my car. As we left the house I pitched him the keys and said, “Cameron, you drive.” This surprised him. He smiled and said, “Sure”. Then he drove with a smile on his face. Something happened that day between us. He could sense a trust between us. The years passed and I’d often given him the keys. Then there came a point when I needed counsel. I gave him a call, explained my concerns and asked him for advice. I was amazed at how he gave me “rock solid” counsel. Now, I see my son as one of my mentors. This has changed our relationship again.
The reason older men don’t like to allow their sons to step up and actually drive is we’re afraid they will wreck the car. So, when our sons become men we keep the keys close to our hearts so we maintain control. The real issue here is trust. Control issues are not what matters to grandfathers. Grandfathers are aware that they don’t need as much as before; they have more years behind them than they have ahead of them.
It is vitally important, that, as you grow through the stages of your life, that you step from one chapter into the next. Why would any of us want to stay in the first chapter of our life book? Life has so many opportunities and so many open doors. If you are to live it to the full, then you must step through the doors, which God opens to you.
Here is a thought for younger men: As you move into a strong level of success, remember that you are, at least partially, certified by whom you sat under, as Saul sat under Gamaliel.
Here is a thought for older men: Are you willing to TAKE A STEP UP, so you will not jeopardize your final success by staying where you are?
1 John 3:1,4,9 Nicodemus came to learn from Jesus.
2 Acts 5:34-39 & Acts 22:3 Gamaliel a mentor & teacher of Saul of Tarsus
3 John 19:39 KJV “Nicodemus… brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes…”
4 Acts 5:34-39 MSG “Gamaliel said… you better not be found fighting against God!”