“The O.C.” is home to some of the best surfing in the continental United States. Decades ago, the Beach Boys and Hollywood helped make these California beaches popular, and the sport of surfing take off. Standing on the cliffs overlooking Laguna Beach, Sunset Beach, and Newport Beach, you can see why. It’s captivating.
While visiting a couple of weeks ago, Miriam and I noticed a lone surfer hanging out in a rocky area of Laguna Beach. It was weird seeing someone standing in the middle of huge waves with his surfboard, then launching himself toward the shore and weaving his way through deadly jagged rocks. “Why is he doing that?” we wondered. “All the other surfers are floating on their boards far from these rocks.”
Then we realized why. One of the challenges of surfing is getting yourself and your board up to the same speed as the oncoming wave. Surfers would wait for what seemed like an eternity for the right wave. Then they’d start paddling like crazy to catch the wave only to have it pass them by. The guy on the rocks didn’t have that problem. He rarely missed a wave. After picking his perfect wave, he pushed off the rock he was standing on. Once he was up, he knew where all the dangerous rocks were and skillfully rode right through them towards the beach. Pretty neat trick.
Then Miriam said, “You know, someone had to show him that. He had to be shown which rock he could launch off of and where the path to the beach was. You can’t learn where those rocks are by trial and error.”
She nailed it. And in that moment, she reminded me of what Christian mentors do for their mentees. They say . . .
- Stand on the rock. Don’t float around. Jesus is the rock, stand on Him. “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Put all your faith in Him.
- Push off the rock. Knowing Jesus is with us and for us, “we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.” We won’t wear ourselves out paddling after waves that aren’t taking us anywhere. We pick our opportunities carefully and move out confidently.
- Avoid the rocks. The unique value a mentor adds to a mentee is showing where the danger lies . . . where the rocks are that can destroy you. If that surfer successfully launches off the rock but crashes into one of the huge boulders lurking just under the water’s surface, he’s toast. Good mentors tell their mentees about the rocks they’ve hit and how to avoid them.
- Focus on the way home. Surfers, snow skiers, and racecar drivers all testify that you’ll steer yourself toward what your eyes are focused on. Someone showed our surfer friend where the dangerous rocks were, but he didn’t look at them. His eyes were on the beach and the winding path to get there. Mentors help us focus on the endgame . . . good marriages . . . children who want to spend time with us, even when they don’t have to . . . impact for the Kingdom . . . and eternity spent in the presence of Jesus.
That’s the beach!
Scripture: The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence. (Proverbs 14:16)
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