Friday, August 17, 2007

ISO: Paul

Every person should seek to have three individuals in their life: a Paul, a Barnabas, and a Timothy.
A Paul is an older person who is willing to mentor you, to build into your life. Not someone who’s smarter or more gifted than you, but somebody who’s been down the road. Somebody willing to share their strengths and weaknesses — everything they have learned in the laboratory of life. Somebody whose faith you’ll want to imitate.
A Barnabas is a soul friend, somebody who loves you but is not impressed by you. Somebody to whom you can be accountable. Somebody who’s willing to keep you honest, who’s willing to say, “Hey, you’re neglecting your spouse, and don’t give me any guff!”
A Timothy is a younger person into whose life you are building. For a model, read 1st and 2nd Timothy. Here was Paul, the quintessential mentor, building into the life of his protégé — affirming, encouraging, teaching, correcting, directing, praying.
Do you have these three people in your life?
By Howard Hendricks, Professor at Dallas Theological Seminary in Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1.

To answer the question, I have "Barnabas"s (what's the plural of Barnabas?), I have "Timothy"s, but not a Paul. I've been blessed with some great Barnabas's since we got back from sabbatical--it's great having friends who are going through similar things and that we can encourage each other. Many, many thanks, Jen, Amanda, and Kim :)

I also have a Timothy right now--today I had lunch with Julia, a high school student who "hung out" in my lab this summer. It was very cool to feel like I was actually mentoring someone--it was just a much different feel than with my students, and yet it was very natural. I'm also going to see if a new, junior colleague is interested in running with me once a week...we'll see if that becomes a "Timothy".

But I don't have a Paul. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever had a Paul. I have a history of leading things I've never participated in--4-H camp, Bible camp, Church Youth Days, sessions for students interested in teaching at small colleges...never done 'em, but lead them. I could really use a Paul somedays, someone who has been there, done that, and has some advice on what they'd do if they could do it all over again.

Lord, show me a "Paul" in my life--someone with wisdom and experience who can point me to You and how to live it out.


Kim said...

I'm praying that a "Paul" comes into your life that can pour into you as much as you pour out (which is a lot!).

Jen said...

I was just thanking God you are one of the "Barnabbases" in my life, too! You know, I've had times in my life when I didn't have a Paul, too. Sometimes it was because I didn't want one (pride!) and sometimes because Jesus wanted me to simply sit at His feet without anyone else distracting me. Also, with every passing birthday, I notice that I'm in that "Paul" category more and more. I'll pray for you! The few times I've been able to really see a "Paul" at work in my life have been hard times but times that made me really stretch and grow. We all need that!