Early on in my Christian walk, I sought out those who were ahead of me in the Lord and made myself an apprentice, learning all I could from them.
In total, I’ve had about five spiritual mentors in my life.
In this post, I want to talk about two of them.
To keep their identities anonymous, we’ll call the first one David and the second one John.
The Story of David
David was one of the most gifted people I’ve ever met. He was a talented writer, speaker, and he had a keen mind littered with uncommon spiritual insight.
At one time, David was utterly sold out to his Lord and God used him mightily.
His ministry was powerful and those who received from him grew close to Jesus.
However, he had an inflated ego that never went to the cross, but only increased with his age. So much so, that he was threatened by anyone who was more or equally gifted as he was.
This created jealousy on his part toward others.
His insecurity and enormous ego prevented him from having peers who could speak into his life. Every attempted co-worker he had eventually broke ranks with him after they got a good look at his character. (All of them tried to talk to him about his character patterns, but their words weren’t heeded.)
To protect his self-image, David was deceptive and dishonest. And he would quickly trash anyone of whom he was jealous.
Sometimes he’d cloak the trashing under the guise of humor. Other times he was outright mean-spirited, yet he’d justify himself as being concerned for the person.
For this reason, David was never interested in my life. I couldn’t talk to him about my struggles and when I would ask him questions, he resented it.
Especially questions that challenged his presuppositions.
He was often short with me and others on the phone, having better things to do.
David was only interested in one thing: David and David’s ministry.
That said, he would use whomever was in his life — including their gifts and talents — to further his own ministry and bolster his legacy (something with which he was obsessed.)
At one time, David’s ministry was well known and looked upon favorably by the general body of Christ. Today, however — many years after I first met him — his ministry has dwindled to the point where few people even know who he is.
In addition, virtually everyone who followed his ministry at one time has removed themselves from it.
Worse still, the anointing of God that was once upon David’s life left. I remember the year that “the glory departed” from him, after he was urged by the Lord in various ways to repent.
Regrettably, he refused to change.
Not long after, I ended my relationship with him.
When the anointing left him, he could repeat the same words, but the unction behind them was gone.
I wrote about the dilemma of mentors turning on their mentees here. What I wrote there can be applied to this situation as well as many others, I’m sure.
Enter now my other mentor . . . John.