If you want to go fast, Go alone, if you want to go far, Go Together!

Jesus sent the disciples out in two’s. Why? Because even though they could have gotten to more places alone, there is power in sharing in the things that come our way, There is added impact when two or more people work together toward a shared goal. https://depree.org/why-did-jesus-send-out-his-disciples-two-by-two/

I have been thinking a lot about this lately. We all need others in our lives. Jenni Marie in Kindred Grace shares that Life was not meant to be lived alone. https://bit.ly/lifeisnotmeanttobelivedalone She asks, “When did you last give up? Were you also alone?” When you have failed in life, were you alone?” She then makes the case of why being a mentor or having one is so important. God wants us to know the value of asking for help versus stubbornly trying to do things on our own. She writes, “As I started to value community, I was able to flourish. I reap the benefits when I ask for help.” When we are blessed to have people there for us, we are exhorted to be the one offering help to someone in need. Jenni shares it “does not need to be limited to a mentor-mentee relationship as might be traditionally expected. Although the formal and in-person relationships are beautiful, only one of my advisors has accepted and embraced the title of mentor. The rest? I doubt they even know how much I lean on them for life and business wisdom.” Even the Apostle Paul needed a Barnabus. https://www.biblestudy.org/apostlepaul/life-epistles-of-apostle-paul/paul-and-barnabas.html He also mentored younger men like Timothy and Timothy would eventually become pastor of the church at Ephesus, and certainly the letters of 1 and 2 Timothy express how much Paul loved and cared for him.

My daughter shared advice with me this weekend that was the impetus for me writing this blog. A friend told her to surround herself with people she could trust from every decade. I turned 70 this month so it is harder to find folks in higher decades than me but as I thought about Katie’s comment, I realized that I am blessed to have dear friends in their upper 70’s :), 80’s, and 90’s who I can go to for advice or just follow the example they set for me and others. I also can say I have people around me from every decade below me down to my two 4 year old granddaughters. I can learn from them and I hope all in their teens, 20’s, 30’s, 40’s etc will be encouraged by what I say or how I live my life that helps them along the way.

I encourage each of us to find people whether younger or older who we can trust to be there for us. I also hope we will look for ways to give back by finding others who would benefit from your mentoring.

Never forget however, that God is with you and therefore, you are never alone. https://biblehub.com/hebrews/13-5.htm Reminds us that God’s promises are eternal, and He will provide love, comfort, and courage so we can live an abundant life in Him and through Him. We live in a fallen world where we are bound to get hurt. But God will never leave us nor forsake us. One of the ways He fulfills this promise is by providing others to walk along side us as we navigate through the blessings and adversity that will come our way. May we all find ways to help others remain thankful in all things.

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To what are you tethered?

I was standing by the river this morning w 2 of my grandkids at a social distance skipping rocks and watching them wade into the water. We even caught a frog! It was peaceful and while the sun was shining, the shade and the water off the water made it so pleasant. I wished we had a couple blow up rafts so the kids could enjoy floating just off the rocky beach where I could make sure nothing went wrong. What I forgot was as still as the river was, there was still a current that without something to anchor them, the kids would have nonchalantly drifted down the river to a place I would not have been able to see them anymore.

I was thankful for this moment after a couple of weeks of finding it hard to find anything for which to be thankful. This thought reminded me of Romans 12:2 in the Bible that says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” My friend, Steve Fitzhugh, modernized this verse when talking to young people about peer pressure saying, “even a dead fish can swim down stream.” I am grateful that the Covid19 shelter in place has given me extra time to think about what I feel about watching a black man killed by those who are sworn to protect. The first thing I felt called to do was reach out and say I am sorry to friends whom I knew were in pain. That I was broken hearted that George Floyd’s death once again showed that there is still an ugly and hateful current that continues to move in our society. I then focused on what was I to do about it and found a devotional by Chip Ingram that even though it wasn’t about this hateful act, it gave me a roadmap for my journey forward from here. I interpreted what he shared in this way.

“This is a journey which we are all on and one we need to do together. As Chip Ingram shared, like a real trip, we need a SUV 🙂 We first need to Study so that we can learn and gain knowledge. We then need to seek to Understand by listening to those who have experienced more and know more than we do. We then need to make ourselves Vulnerable so that as Paul in Philippians 2 teaches, “we will not just look to our own interests but as importantly, the interest of others”

If we can all somehow do this, tethered together in unity, we can become agents of change. We can’t allow our complacency to let the currents of the world continue to take us down stream to places where we never intended to go. As Pastor TD Jakes shared recently in a sermon, “It is time to not Make America Great Again. It is time to make America Love Again. It is time to make America Kind Again.” The song says, “They will know we are Christians by our love”and that “it only takes a spark to get it going” Rosa Parks was arrested on December 1, 1955 after she refused to give up her seat on a crowded bus to a white passenger. This action of Parks, and a united African-American community made the boycott a success. They remained united and less than a year later the Supreme Court in November of 1956, ruled that segregation on buses operating within Alabama’s boundaries was illegal, because it deprived people of equal protection under the 14th Amendment. Maybe our individual actions to help make things right can make a difference after all. That would be a reason for which to be thankful.

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