Get a Paul. Paul was a mentor to numerous young men, two of which are mentioned in Scripture are Timothy and Titus. Paul was an older man who sought to do whatever he could to help younger men grow into the godly men God called them to be (see 2 Timothy 2:1:3-7 for an example of this in action). Each of us need a Paul in our life. An older man or woman who we can learn from and be supported, encouraged, and equipped by.
For me, this role was (and is) filled wonderfully by Pastor Dave Keehn. Since the 8th grade, pastor Dave has taught me the Scriptures, modeled Christian life for me, encouraged me, rebuked me, corrected me, trained me, supported me, and just about every other good thing a man can do to mentor and disciple a younger man. He was there for middle school graduation, high school graduation, college graduation, my wedding (of which he officiated), and now co-labors with me in gospel ministry. I can confidently say that I would not be who I am today without my Paul, Pastor Dave Keehn. You see, for the majority of our life there will be someone a little further down the road than us with some wisdom and care to offer. Don’t neglect God’s gift of spiritual fathers and mothers. Get a Paul.
Get a Barnabas. Barnabas is known in the Scriptures as an instrumental friend of Paul. He was the first one in the church to support Paul in his ministry and partnered with Paul in his missionary journeys. He worked tirelessly to encourage Paul and others to honor Christ with everything they had. We all need a Barnabas (or two or three) in our lives. We all need close friends who work to encourage us to serve and honor Christ with our lives. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm.” In other words, you will become who your closest friends are. Ask yourself, “Do my closest friends push me toward Christ or pull me away from him?” Think about that carefully. I encourage all to take the advice of Thomas Brooks, “Let your best friend be those who have made Christ their best friend.”
Get a Timothy. Lastly, we all should have at least one Timothy in our life. Timothy was the young “mentee” of Paul. Timothy was encouraged, trained, supported, cared for, prayer for, taught, and loved by Paul. In fact, so close was their relationship that Paul had no problem referring to Timothy as his own “beloved child” (1 Timothy 1:2). May we all imitate Paul (1 Corinthians 11:1) and find our own Timothy to disciple. If you’re in high school, grab a middle schooler. If you are a college student, pick a high schooler at your church and start encouraging and point them toward Christ. I could go on, but you get the picture. Grab someone younger than you in age and faith and befriend their soul and fight for their joy in Christ. Let the older men teach the younger and the older women teach the younger (see Titus 2:1-8). May we pass on what Christ has given us.
So there are three key relationship I think every Christian should always have and if they don’t do whatever they can to get them. Find a Paul to grow you. Find a Barnabas to encourage you. Find a Timothy to serve. If you do, you will not regret it.