Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. 2 Timothy 1:14
This is a rewrite from a post I did in early 2016. The fact that I’ve been doing this blog that long still mystifies me. The above passage comes from Paul’s letter to Timothy; it was instructive both then and today.
An old classmate put a message on social media to support a mutual friend whose sister had recently died. The message resonated with me: it gave a word picture of making a “good deposit” in someone else. Here’s the message:
“They marked us, you know. Your mother, Georgia, Imogene, Mrs. France, Mrs. Ferguson, Mrs. Giesleman…. all of them…. too many precious ones to name.
‘They marked us with their love, with what they deposited in us, and what we learned from them. Life lessons and skills and grace that keeps on giving our entire lives. Grace that grows within us and extends to those we encounter. Through us, their love gets re-deposited in people they will never know.”
“My sister said to me: ‘You have more fun at funerals than anyone I know’. I had to think about that… how to take it. It isn’t “fun”…. it is joy. Joy in the process of recalling and appreciating what those persons have given me; what their gifts in the past have contributed to my life.”
“We never know how far the influence of one life reaches until it is extinguished, and people come forth with those ‘precious memories’.”
This was a remarkable tribute – I hope when I die that someone can say the same about me. I have gone through life thinking that mentoring is really no more than making a “good deposit” in someone else. It’s that simple.
When you go the bank to make a deposit to your account, you can write “For Deposit Only” on the back of a check. Your deposit will increase the value of what is already in the account.
Mentoring is like that – you are making a deposit in someone else’s life of your wisdom, love, experiences in order to enhance what is already there. But the image doesn’t stop with just the initial deposit.
One of the biblical imperatives is to “pass it on” to future generations. That’s what the author was talking about when she said that the life lessons, skills and love that were deposited in us will get “re-deposited in people [you] will never know”.
Who deposited values and character in you? It might have been a friend, a coach, a parent or relative, or, if you are fortunate, someone who mentored you along the way. They invested in you for your benefit, not for their own, and the expectation is that you would do the same in the lives of others.
If someone has made a deposit in your life, don’t wait until their funeral to thank them.
Who are you making deposits in at this moment? If you can’t think of anyone, maybe it’s time to start and be intentional in the lives of others. The next generations are desperate for someone to mentor them, but the older generation has largely ignored their pleas.
A man heard me talk about mentoring at our Friday Bible study recently. He came up afterwards to talk. He told me that his life had been one disaster after another and that he didn’t think he had anything to offer the younger generation.
As I listened, I thought of the Albert Einstein quote: “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.” I encouraged the man that he was just the right person to help others avoid what he had painfully experienced. That’s what mentoring does and is.
If you think of eternity as an endless line, our existence on earth is just a dot on the line. Hard to think of yourself as just a “.” on a line that goes to infinity, but that’s a good visual of the length of our lives here on earth.
Stacy Rinehart calls it living for the line, not the dot.
Stacy adds: “What is amazing is that we can do things in this life that have an eternal impact and bear fruit that lasts forever”. Making deposits in others is a way to live for the line – where your investments in lives of others will impact their values, character and even their careers or outcomes.
Those deposits will get passed on to others “you will never know”. That’s living for the line, not for the dot.
MENTOR TAKEAWAY: You will never know the impact a deposit has in another person or to others they pass it on to. It may have eternal significance.
FURTHER STUDY: Lead In Light of Eternityby Stacy Rinehart is available at Amazon.
WORSHIP: Listen to Christy Nockels sing Waiting Here for You.
MentorLink:For more information about MentorLink, go to www.mentorlink.org.
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