I’ve been on a search for a mentor. It’s not as easy as you might think. The person I want is going to have to be willing to give up some time, some valuable advice, they’re going to have to be willing to invest in me. The payment they receive will not be monetary. In this day and age everyone wants to get paid. Including me. This has challenged me to really think about how things work. I believe you get back what you put in. With that said the obvious choice is for me to find someone I can mentor. For free.
I’ve often thought about what I have to offer someone else. What are the talents, skills, and gifts I have? What can I teach someone? What am I good at? What am I an expert in?
The quick and discouraging answer is: nothing. I’m not an expert in my career field. I haven’t studied music or devoted my life to the study of quantum physics. I don’t have a PhD. In fact I’m just an average Joe.
While wallowing in disappointing self-inventory, I had an epiphany. I’ve been through some things. My life has been messy and difficult. I’ve made bad decisions, I’ve failed at things, I’ve hurt people, I’ve been hurt by people. I’ve learned some amazing life lessons. If I was educated in anything it was the old cliche school of hard knocks.
This epiphany struck while I was reading a verse from my Bible. It came while I was reading Matthew 25. Jesus is telling parables. In one parable he tells about a business man who gave some servants money to manage and how the servants who took risks went out and made more money for their master. However the one who just kept the money for fear he would lose it angered the master because he did nothing productive with it. The New American Standard Bible uses the term “talent” to describe the currency. Maybe you see where I’m going with this? When I saw “talent” I immediately thought of modern day definitions. I thought of Talent defined as a skill or gift that an individual may have. Think about your own talents. What if God gave you those talents to invest? Are you using them to create a greater return? In other words are you using your talents to help others develop theirs? Are you investing your talent mentoring someone else who has potential in the same area you’re gifted in? Maybe your talent is just encouraging others who are going through something you’ve been through and overcame. Were you a teen who got pregnant young, were you a drug addict and are now recovered, did you go through divorce, did you lose a child, have you succeeded in business, have you failed at something? Whatever we’ve been through can be shared with another going through it, to encourage them, to help them succeed, to empower someone to be better in their life.
Our talents, I believe were given to us not for our own monetary gain but for investing. When you invest in others, you invest in yourself as well. You gain empowerment, confidence, and a sense of personal achievement. When it comes from our own desire, It just feels good to help someone. We all know that to be a truth. We don’t need scientific evidence to know this. We don’t need studies or an article in The American Journal of Medicine to know we feel good helping another.
So the question then is why don’t more people do it?
Again I go back to a verse in my Bible. In exodus when Moses is instructing the Isrealites on how to prepare for the Passover meal he gives instructions for others, non-Isrealites. That’s right it wasn’t just the Isrealites who ate the Passover meal. In fact when Moses parted the Red Sea, it wasn’t just the Isrealites who crossed over. The NLT Bible says a “rabble” of non- Isrealites traveled with the them. Rabble is defined in the Merriam-Webster as a crowd that is noisy and hard to control, a group of people looked down upon as ignorant and hard to handle. Synonyms for the word include lowlife, gang, horde. However you look at it the picture described doesn’t look like “Godly” pious people. I’ve thought about this a lot. I researched some too. There are several theories to who these people were and why they traveled with the Isrealites. The Bible says they had herds of cattle and some believe God used their resources to help sustain the Isrealites in their travel. Others believe they were perhaps symbolic for struggles the Isrealites would always have with them since the additional people required more resources and more land to sustain their cattle. But I think maybe they were both. I think they were opportunities to grow, opportunities for the Isrealites to use their talents. If everyone had the same thoughts and skills we do we’d never get the blessing of a fresh perspective, a new idea, an innovative product, or a chance to use our talents. I think God provided the rabble, to remind the Isrealites and us that our talents are best invested in those areas with the least value. It’s up to us to create value. A divorce, an addiction, a painful past, a humiliating moment are all areas we would rather forget, but some of life’s most valuable lessons are found in them. We could be like the Isrealites, so ensconced in our own suffering and desire to survive that we don’t notice the value in the suffering. Or we can look around, find the opportunity to use our talents and learn to value the rabble.