His post got me thinking about a statement I once heard regarding the Christian life journey:
"Everyone should have a Paul, a Barnabas, and a Timothy!"Everyone should have a Paul!
Looking at the Epistles of the New Testament, there is little doubt that the Apostle Paul was an effective teacher and leader to the fledgling churches of the first century. With an eye, ear, and tongue struck with wisdom, he mentored young leaders, gave wise advice, and by the power of the Holy Spirit spoke truth into the lives of God's people. Everyone needs a Paul!
Which personal relationships in your life consistently point you to the cross and teach you? Who is the "Paul" in your spiritual walk?
Everyone needs a Barnabas!
In the book of Acts, Barnabas was one of the first people to "have Paul's back" after Jesus claimed him for service to the Gospel (Acts 9:27). Barnabas and Paul traveled together, taught together, and shared the ups and downs of ministry together, but they also had disagreements. I can imagine how these two friends held each other accountable at every turn. Even after going their separate ways following a contentious disagreement, Paul, in later Epistles, counts Barnabas as a friend and encourages others to recall the grace that was taught them by BOTH he and Barnabas. Everyone needs a friend with whom they can not only share joys, but that can also "tell ya' like it is."
Who walks with you on a daily basis? Who is the one willing to call you out when you need correcting? Who is your Barnabas?
Everyone needs a Timothy!
Timothy was a young pastor charged with leading the people at Ephesus--not such an easy task. Paul didn't just kick Timothy into the arena and say, "Good Luck with that." On the contrary, Paul mentored him through targeted correspondence, encouraging him, exhorting him, and most importantly praying for him! Timothy, being a young man, I'm sure struggled with with his leadership responsibilities, but Paul reminded him time and time again to be faithful in showing God's grace to His people. Keep the main thing, the main thing. I'm sure Timothy needed that! I'm sure someone needs that from YOU too!
Who in your life can you stand next to and encourage, instruct, and lift up in prayer? Who in your life needs a mentor?
Now nothing in life is rarely this cut and dry. I don't know that I could single out ONE person for each of these roles in my life. More often than not, the person who is my Paul winds up also being my Barnabas. The ones who I've spent time mentoring, winds up teaching me an awful lot in the process as well!
These relationships don't just apply to our faith journey alone, they apply to our professional journey as well.
Who in your professional life would you count as your Paul, your Barnabas, or your Timothy. Who can you turn to with unanswered questions? Who do you trust to lead you to good and wise answers? Who in your professional circles can you share the ups and downs of classroom life with and from whom can you get honest feedback? And who have you taken the time to mentor?
There are literally dozens of opportunities each day to engage in one of these significant roles.
As +Bernard Bull pointed out in his comment to Dave's post, you can play a significant role in someone's professional growth even if it's just being part of the Twitter "collective brain."
As a teacher, you ARE important! Not just in the life of your students, but in the life of your colleagues as well. If the 21st century has taught us anything so far, it's that you can be someone to someone else whether near or far. Take the risk! Be who God has called you to be! Engage the community. Dave and I are better for it....and so will you!
Image: "Community-Manager" by Flicker User: kikembo
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