Our daughter, who lives overseas, was home for a while last year and for a surprise treated my wife and I to a night at an art studio. It was not the kind where you look at art, but where you create art. Well, I might be using that word loosely!
On a second floor of an old building maybe twenty or so of us assembled for the purpose of being taught how to paint a picture. We were provided paints, and brushes, and canvasses. Our teacher greeted us and drew our attention to an easel where there was an already painted picture of what we would be painting for the night. It was our example of what the finished effort should look like.
But the teacher didn’t just point us to a finished product as she instructed us, she also painted along with us. She told us how to mix paints on our palette to create certain colors. She told us which brushes to use. She explained certain types of brushstrokes to use to achieve certain results. We needed an example and she provided that for us in two ways. She gave us a finished example as well as an example of the process.
This is a great example to me of what a mentor is and does in our lives. We all need people like this in our lives. They are people whose lives are an example of Christ-like living to us that we admire, but we need more. We also need someone who will live life with us and show us the process of reaching for that goal. We need someone to show us how to press on (Philippians 3:12-14).
Without that companion we may only know the destination (the finished painting) but not know how to actually make it happen (the colors and brushstrokes). We all need friends like this.