[Here is the text for a Graduate Club speech given to the Portland UCG Spokesmen’s Club on January 10, 2016 as a very late fill-in for the originally planned speaker.]
Shortly after turning eighteen, I moved to Los Angeles to begin college. While there, as I have told you all previously , I became friends with a group of adults who were between the ages of my mother and father who had gone to Ambassador College at the same time, and whose behavior with their families served as a model to me because my own deeply broken and divided family did not provide the sort of example I wished to follow in. Although it struck my friends as unusual that someone would consciously seek out a mentor, I have since seen others with the same interest as my own, like a young woman I danced with at the most recent Northwest Weekend who hoped to be able to spend several months, at least, in this area to be mentored by our pastor’s wife. Today I would like to talk about why we should find a mentor and be a mentor.
How many of you here currently have a mentor in your lives? How many of you consciously and deliberately serve as a mentor for others outside of your own family? When we look at the Bible, Paul’s relationship with Timothy is one of the best examples we have in the bible of a consciously developed long-term mentoring relationship. Paul’s advice to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12-16 remains among the most touching and paternal notes that he wrote: “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.” Being a mentor is about being an example to others, about passing along one’s wisdom to others as we learned them from others. I have already mentioned today about how I first came to attend Graduate Club with my maternal grandfather and enjoyed the experience as an alert and observant guest, soaking up my experiences there. Regardless of where we are in life, we always have something to teach others, and something to learn from others. In that light, my challenge to all of you today is to find a mentor, and be a mentor.
Why do we need both to find and to be mentors? On the one hand, all of us have much to learn from others. While acquiring head knowledge is relatively easy if one listens well, has a good memory, and has a voracious appetite for books, all of us struggle to apply in our behavior what we know in our heads. And regardless of how well we are living in whatever stage of life, we all look forward to changes as we grow older and as the circumstances of life change, and in order to handle those changes well, all of us can use people around us who set a good example for us and can provide wisdom through their own God-given insight and their own experiences. Likewise, no matter where we are in life, all of us here can, if we choose, serve as a model and an example for others, passing on the insight from observation and experience to others just as we have learned it from others, passing along the blessings of wisdom that we have received as a legacy. The Bible likewise agrees that everyone can be a mentor. As it is written in Titus 2:1-8: “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things—that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.” From this advice on mentoring and setting a godly example no one is exempt.
Therefore, wherever our lives set a good example of godly behavior and we have a desire to pass on what has been given to us to others, what hinders us from being a mentor to those who seek to follow us as we follow Christ? Inasmuch as we all have areas where we can grow and improve, what would prevent someone from wanting to be our mentor, to help us along so that we may live wiser and better? Do we have enough love and concern for others that we are willing to take the time to encourage them and build them up? Do we show such an obvious hunger for knowledge and growth that others are willing to take the time to encourage us and build us up? If not, what is stopping us from both finding mentors to help guide us and being mentors for those coming after us? After all, looking around at our present world, there is much darkness and evil in it, and if we have been given God’s truth to practice and to learn, what hinders us from living in such a way that we may help others in their own pursuit of God’s ways? Let us therefore all seek godly examples for us to follow, and seek to live so that others may wish to imitate our example so that they may be a better light to the world themselves, so that their progress and our own may be evident to all. Let us all find a mentor, and be a mentor.
 See, for example: