Whoever you are as a person – who you are right now – you didn’t get to become this person completely on your own. There were people along the way that helped you become you, who shaped you intentionally and accidentally.
One of the great shapers of our life is often our Mother. The one who gave birth to us is usually the one who cares for us from birth to adulthood. While not all are fortunate to be raised by their mother, mothers impact who we are and who we become. Moms are there to help us learn the skills of life. From learning to walk to how to care for our hygiene. They, usually in tandem with your father, prepare you for adulthood. Many do it with great care and direction.
My mom was a “stay-at-home” mom, so she was always there. She was there when I woke up in the morning. She got breakfast ready and packed our lunches for school. She was there after school waiting to hear how the day went. And along the way I learned things like sharing and looking both ways before crossing the street. My siblings and I are most likely not even aware of all she taught us.
Many of us have others who played significant roles in our life. For example, maybe there was a teacher who took time to explain the math question until you finally got it, or the one who encouraged your creativity as you learned to draw. Or maybe you remember a camp counselor who listened to you and encouraged you as you were hurting. For me, there was a man in the church, a friend of my Dad’s, who I never spent much time with but whom I looked up to. I watched how he handled life, his business and his involvement in the church.
Some of us became leaders because someone encouraged us. I remember my brother being told at a young age, “you are a leader. Be careful where you lead people.” Other kids just naturally followed him, and did what he did. I was much more a follower. Some of us became musicians because a band teacher affirmed our musical abilities and encouraged us to do well with that.
I am a pastor because the president of my bible college, Reuben Kvill, encouraged me to consider a pastoral internship. I was not interested in being a pastor, but he encouraged me in that direction. It was during my internship that God affirmed that calling in me to become a pastor. Mr. Kvill took a personal interest in me and spoke words of encouragement to me. This had profound impact.
Another significant man in my life was Phil. Phil was a full-time missionary. He had served overseas and was now reaching out to the Hindu community in Edmonton. He taught an Evangelism Explosion class, where the curriculum taught us how to share our faith, but also included “field” practice where we went out with another more experienced person to share our faith and invite people to come to know Jesus. The casual conversations along with the formal classes instilled in me a desire to reach people for Jesus that has impacted all the years since.
We all have people who have helped us along the way. Some of us have a few, others have many, but we need to recognize that we did not become who we are on our own. We each have had help to become who we are and develop some of the skills we have.
Will you do the same? Will you look for people whom you can pass your knowledge and information on to? It may be in a formal setting like my Explosion Evangelism class. It may be in meaningful conversations where you encourage and affirm what is good in the other person’s life. You can suggest they consider a new opportunity in their life. Take time to slow down and notice the people around you. And then, when you can, speak into their lives in the way that your mom and other mentors did for you.
I want to finish with one final recognition. A large part of who I am is because of God in my life. There are times when I have felt God speaking or impressing something on my heart that caused me to shift direction in my career. God has encouraged and affirmed me even when many around me did not. I thank God for the people He has put in my path to help shape me.
Let’s thank God for the people who have helped us, and then look for whom to help next.
Keep Looking up,