One of the most profoundly satisfying ways of helping others succeed is through mentoring. Mentoring is the intentional act of inserting yourself into another person’s life for good purpose and right motive to help them become better because of your input and involvement in their lives. This is, of course, one of the primary reasons people get involved in coaching young people. It is not about the publicity or the recognition or even the wins and losses. It is about the lives that are being shaped and molded, either for good or for ill. Through sports, there is the opportunity to teach and develop character in ways that are practical and impactful. This is but one of the reasons I am a fan of The First Tee program. With an array of golfing and corporate sponsors leading the way, The First Tee is about much more than golf. It is about teaching a set of nine “core values” (including respect, responsibility, and decision-making) that will better equip these young men and women for life in the adult world. The First Tee is one of several very noble mentoring programs that integrates sports and life, and it seems to be working.
It is valuable to note that the idea of equipping others to succeed through mentoring is as old as the Scriptures—and not limited to the young. We see Moses mentoring Joshua, Naomi mentoring Ruth, Peter mentoring Mark, Paul mentoring Timothy and a host of others, and, of course, Jesus and His band of disciples. This kind of mentoring, however, is not merely about character—valuable as that is. No, this kind of mentoring is about seeing the character of Christ reproduced in others so that their lives may know the kind of spiritual success that honors the Master. That is why Jesus, in the ultimate expression of the process of spiritual mentoring, told His men: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).
In this area of mentoring, we are not just interested in character qualities, we are interested in the life and heart of Christ—and seeing His character reproduced. This was certainly what Christ was about in His mentoring, and it paid off. When confronted by the religious leaders of their day and holding firm to the convictions of their Lord, they were marked as those who had been under Jesus’ influence: “They took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13 KJV).
That is the key element. Mentoring can’t be done unless there is the personal investment of a life into a life. By God’s grace, help, and wisdom, it can be an investment that sets people on a path of spiritual living that likewise marks them as those who have “been with Jesus”—and that is success indeed.
Join us tomorrow on Sports Spectrum radio as we discuss what it takes to help others succeed.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain