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March 2014

Life on Purpose

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Time to Mentor

by Norma Jackson Goldman


One of the least discussed areas of stewardship is the use of time. Most stewardship discussions revolve around money and spiritual gifts. While it is true these should be at the very core of discipleship teachings, how we use our time is equally important.

Allocating time so everything gets done and our lives stay in balance requires a lot of energy and planning. At day’s end, most of us find things still left on the “to do” list. Even in retirement, when everyone assumes they will have loads of free time to do all sorts of interesting, challenging, and rewarding things, time has to be managed.

One of my favorite stories involves a wonderful couple I’ll call Sally and Fred. After retirement, Fred bounded out of bed each day saying, “What are we going to do today, Sal?” She went along for several weeks, thinking up fun places to go, but his retirement dream burst one day when Sally responded, “I don’t know what you’re going to do, but I’m going upstairs and sew!” Clearly, his dream of how to spend retirement didn’t match hers.

Many retirees find rich rewards in mentoring—the process of walking alongside another person, focusing on some area of growth and development or simply “doing life” together. Several retired couples in our church have agreed to mentor a young couple for a period of months, loving, guiding, and encouraging them to build a strong Christian marriage. In some cases, these mentors serve as “adopted” grandparents to their children.

Currently, I mentor a beautiful young woman. She is a strong and faithful believer, wife, and mother. I knew of her commitment to Bible study, worship, and prayer, so I was taken aback when she asked if I would be her mentor. It seemed to me that she already had everything needed to be a true Proverbs 31 woman.

“I need your wisdom and experience,” she encouraged. “I need you to point out pitfalls we might encounter and how to deal with them so that my marriage remains strong and my children will be raised to honor God.” The fact that she is thinking in this direction was an enormous encouragement to me. It tells me she is intentionally taking steps to ensure her family will thrive despite the challenges every marriage and family experience.

During weekly meetings we study Scripture, especially Proverbs, which take us into rich discussions about relationships, character, attitudes, and living in ways that please God. I’ve come to appreciate the investments she is making in her family—prayer support for her husband, attention to the schooling and spiritual education of their two beautiful girls. She examines her personal strengths and weaknesses and how they contribute or detract from goals that honor God.

As you can guess, during this time I’ve re-evaluated my own character, relationships, and goals; the process has been rewarding, making me more intentional about choices and decisions. I suspect I’ve learned a good deal more than she has, and I have benefitted from our thought-provoking discussions.

My son-in-law mentors young men in “life skills.” Many boys today grow up with no one to teach them how to perform basic electrical and plumbing chores, how to look for a job, maintain a car, or paint a room. He builds confidence and competency into these young men. What better use of time than to invest in the life of another? What better way to honor God?

Might God use you to mentor another believer—someone at work, at church, or in your neighborhood? God is sure to bless such an investment of time.


About the Writer: Former magazine editor Norma J. Goldman enjoys a successful freelance career in her retirement. The award-winning writer lives in Houston, Texas. Learn more about retirement options at




©2014 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists