Sunday’s Scripture ~ I Thessalonians 2:1-8
This year I am participating in a new mentoring program initiative at a local high school. This program matches students in the local high school to volunteers in the community that want to come alongside these students and support them in their educational success.
I have met with my mentee three times so far. For the first two meetings we talked sports – I talked about football and my mentee is continuing my education about basketball – I may understand it eventually! We talked a little about our families and what we want to be when we grow up. The conversations skimmed the surface, which is normal. We were getting to know one another.
This week the conversation increased in depth. My mentee shared a goal with me, but my mentee’s heart was not happy. It was downcast. The goal was before my mentee and the path to achieve that goal presented itself like walking across broken glass on hot coals up a mountain both ways without shoes. So, we circled the wagons. We strategized. We came up with a plan. We even role played the conversations that would need to happen and possible outcomes that could result depending on what was shared in those conversations. And slowly but surely my mentee’s downcast heart became hopeful. The frown on my mentee’s face started to turn up at the corners.
I cannot wait to see my mentee this next week and follow up on the progress towards his goal.
I am confident that my mentee and I were able to share in that conversation because we had intentionally laid the ground work of getting to know one another. Sharing about ourselves took time. A relationship had to be built. Trust had to be established. Showing up incarnated my commitment, incarnated my care, incarnated my investment in his success. I am in my mentee’s corner. I will hold him accountable. I will celebrate his successes and I will help craft plans for greater acheivements so his goals will become his reality.
I also have a goal of understanding basketball by the end of all of this. I am pretty sure my mentee will make that part of my reality.
This mentee/mentor relationship is not a one way street. Just because I am the mentor does not mean that I am not being guided, and learning, and being formed and transformed by the conversations shared with and insights gained from this intelligent mentee. We are both giving. We are both receiving. We are both committed to sharing about ourselves, learning about one another, and learning together.
Sharing ourselves with others is a way to share Christ with them – to love our neighbors, to serve our neighbors, to care for them, to comfort them, the challenge them, to congratulate them. This is what living life is about. This is the life that Paul lived with the Thessalonians. He was a mentor to and a companion of the Thessalonians. He was also a mentee of the Thessalonians. They lived life together. He was dedicated to sharing with the Thessalonians and rejoiced over the sharing the Thessalonians did with him. Together, they incarnated that “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Mt 18:20). Christ is there with them. Christ is here with us.
As I was leaving our mentoring time this past week my mentee asked where I was headed. “Back to my office.” “Where is your office?” “At a church. That’s where I work. I pastor a church.” “What!? You’re a pastor??” “Yes, I am.” “Could…could we talk about that sometime?” “You bet. You just let me know.”
Where two are gathered…
Prayer: “Draw us in the Spirit’s tether, for when humbly in thy name, two or three are met together thou are in the midst of them. Alleluia! Alleluia! Touch we now thy garment’s hem. All our meal and all our living make us sacraments of thee, that by caring, helping, giving, we may true disciples be. Alleluia! Alleluia! We will serve thee faithfully.”* Amen.
*”Draw Us in the Spirit’s Tether,” The United Methodist Hymnal, 632.