By Larry Highley
When I was a younger, more impetuous man, a wise mentor of mine told me, “Larry, find yourself a Paul, a Barnabas, and a Timothy.” Back then I was not completely sure what he was trying to say, so I asked him what he meant. He went on to explain that the Christian life is a life that is immersed in relationships. Many of our relationships rely on Godly accountability, trust-based interactions, and investment opportunities.
First, he said that it is important to have someone in your life that you look up to. This person should be someone who exhibits the qualities that you strive toward in your own life. This person should be setting the example for how to live a life pleasing to God and worthy of emulation. In short, this person should be your “Paul.”
Next, he told me that you need a person in your sphere of influence that you view as a peer. This person should be a confidant; a person of character. This person should challenge you spiritually and tell you honestly when they see you getting off track with your spiritual walk. This person should be someone who you trust without question and someone that you share a bond of brotherhood with. This person would be your “Barnabas.”
Finally, he said that it was important to find someone who needs help. You should seek someone who is still figuring out life’s tough lessons. This person should be someone seeking wisdom beyond their years and is willing to be teachable. This person should be someone that you are willing to pour your life into in a way that increases their measure. This person would be your “Timothy.”
Christianity is a team sport.
God never intended for any of us to be on an island without human interaction. That is not healthy for anyone. Discipleship is more than having coffee or sharing a meal. It is the intentional investment of one person in the life of another person with the hope that both receive edification from the process. This process, by its nature, matures both individuals who partake in it. In that way, I view disciple-making as a critical discipline of the faith.
I challenge every reader of this article to identify their Paul, their Barnabas, and their Timothy. These are the deep relationships that will take your spiritual walk to the next level. More importantly, these relationships will help you grow and stretch you in ways that will impact the Kingdom. If we are to be the Christ followers that He would have us be, it is imperative that we live in a disciple-making community. Part of that imperative means that we need to be open to others on the journey of life and help each other along the way.