Who inspires you? Who are the mentors in your life? For me, a list of mentors begins with Jesus Christ. In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, Jesus models a way of life in which we go the extra mile and turn the other cheek. In Luke 19, Jesus shows love and acceptance for Zacchaeus, a despised tax collector. In Jesus, I see the need to be humble, selfless, and welcoming of all. While I often fail in these areas, Jesus inspires me.

Inspiration also comes from individuals in history. St. Francis of Assisi lived in the 13th Century. He moved from a life of wealth to a life of poverty. He was known as the patron saint of animals and the environment. Dorothy Day helped to establish the Catholic Worker Movement in the 1930’s. She was a strong advocate for the homeless and those who are often overlooked in society. Both individuals inspire me to break out of my comfort zone and do what’s right to further God’s kingdom.

And of course, inspiration comes from loved ones I have encountered on a daily basis throughout my life. I lift up my mother and father, wife, Heather, daughters, Emma and Sophia, colleagues in ministry, and those I have had the privilege to know in the communities and churches in which I have lived and served. We all need mentors . . . and relationships are formed in different ways.

In one of the first churches I served, I taught a Bible study class. In the class there was a recently retired male schoolteacher, and a young, single mother with two children. Conventional wisdom might say these individuals would not connect together. Yet through the class, a friendship developed. The retired teacher, a widower, became a mentor to the young mother. The gentleman shared his wisdom about parenting, money management, and life skills. Over the years, I saw the young mother mature and develop into a leader in the community. I know the widower was blessed by this relationship too. It was a joy to see. Stories like this are all around us.

I strongly encourage each of you to lift up and celebrate the mentors in your life. As you do this, prayerfully seek out others you can inspire. Imagine the possibilities for our community and world!

Blessings to you, Scott