“Son, back in my day…” That’s a phrase I heard my dad tell me often in various ways at the beginning of what I thought at the time were boring old person stories. Now that I’ve said phrases like those to my kids hundreds of times, those stories don’t seem so boring or like the came from an old person. After all, the older I get the less I feel like the age I am is old. My dad would say phrases like that when it came to literally everything. When I was learning to drive, he would remind me how much more well built the cars were and that he and his brothers and sisters never had their own car as they walked to school, uphill, both ways, in the snow, even in the dead of summer. He would also tell me how much cheaper the gas was per gallon – like pennies. When it came to money, he would tell me how little he got paid at his first job and about depression era grandparents who really knew the value of a dollar. He would tell me about his work ethic as a kid, having to drop out of school to help support his family, working the family farm, and about what little “play time” they had with all of the mouths to feed and gardens to tend. He would tell me all kinds of stories, but in the process teach me all kinds of truths. This was especially true concerning the things of the Lord. He would sit in my room with me and memorize scripture, read bible stories, and talk about applying the bible to my life. He would demonstrate his faith in the Lord in his marriage, parenting, manhood, and all aspects of life. He was my wise mentor. He was a spiritual father. Every man needs one.
In Proverbs 4, Solomon uses the phrase, “Listen my son” several times as he directs his readers to get wisdom (vv. 1, 10, 20). He even recalls when his dad David did the same thing for him (v. 3-4). Solomon understood the importance of having a mentor in the faith. While his was his father, yours can be any father-figure in the faith you admire. We all need a spiritual father speaking truth and wisdom into our lives. Every godly man should have a godly man they can look to for advice and receive correction from. Paul reminds us of this in 2 Timothy 2:2 when he said, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” In 1 Corinthians 4:14-17, Paul demonstrated the importance of spiritual fathers and mentors by saying, “I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.” The gospel demands we get spiritual sons – that’s discipleship! As we imitate others who imitate Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1), we grow in the faith. Seek out a spiritual father today! Invest in a spiritual son! In doing so, we will be and make disciples and become the men God desires.