When I was a young child, I spent much of my time outdoors. I grew up without much influence from video games or television. We lived on ten acres and had a garden, chickens, and a lot of open space. I spent most of my days scouting in the woods while using my imagination. One such day, my younger sister and I were in the yard playing while the chickens roamed around. Most of the time, the chickens were friendly and paid us no mind. This day, however, one of the chickens became upset with my sister. I am not sure what my sister did to upset the chicken, but he began to chase after her and peck at her legs. My sister was terrified and began to scream and cry as she ran from the now deranged monster that chased her. I watched helplessly, unsure of what help I could be for her. Suddenly, my father came dashing down the hill with a hockey stick in hand and an unsettling fire in his eyes. I had never seen my father move so quickly before nor with as much purpose. In mere seconds, my father was upon the chicken and chasing it away from my sister. I never saw what happened next as my father chased the chicken around the pole barn, but I do know I never saw that chicken again.
My dad always took charge and knew when the right time was to step in and intervene. Growing up, he allowed us to make mistakes to allow us to learn, but there would come moments when there was no room for mistakes and my dad would step in and guide us back to safety. My father was a leader and a teacher and always took pride in seeing us learn, most often from our own mistakes.
Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” My father did not grow up in a church family so when he came to know the Lord, he knew better than anyone how important it was to have a friendship and a relationship with the Lord. Growing up, he raised us to be disciplined in the time we spend with the Lord and in our Bibles. He always set an example for us; I would frequently see him in his Bible in the early mornings. It was very obvious how important it was to him and it made it that much more important for me. Even more than just spending time with the Lord, my dad was vigilant in raising my sisters and me so that we can live our lives in a way that glorifies God. My father was a strong man and an incredible leader and teacher. He led by example and taught through experience.
Even if you are not a father, there may be people who look up to you spiritually and it is important to consider what examples you are setting through your actions and your habits. The strength of your diligence and commitment to the Lord can have a massive impact on those around you. I think of a member of the church that I volunteered under as a high-school student and how his relationship with the Lord gave me direction as a young man. He may not have known it, but I looked up to him and saw him as something of a mentor.
I implore you to consider who around you may be looking up you. Which of those around you view you as a mentor? What example are you setting for those people?