Chappy’s corner “Who knew? “

One day two old bachelor men Ole and Sven were paging through the Sears Catalog and admiring all the beautiful models. Ole said to Sven, "Have you seen the pretty girls in this catalog?" Sven replied, "Yes I did. They sure are beautiful, and just look at the prices!" Ole looked wide eyed and said, "Jumping' jiminy. They aren’t very expensive. At these prices I'm buying' me one." Sven smiled, patted Ole on the back and said, "By golly Ole, if she's as pretty as she looks in the catalog, I will get one too." Three weeks later Sven came by and asked Ole, "Did you ever get that girl you ordered from the Sears Catalog?" Ole replied, "no, but it won’t be long now, her clothes came yesterday!" 


 A great guy and fellow pastor, by the name of Jim shared that story with me. Pastor Jim’s experience and wisdom as a pastor has allowed him to serve as friend and mentor to me over the years.  Whether I need guidance as a pastor, or advice on where the fish are biting, Jim has been a blessed resource for me.


Having someone you can turn to for advice is a precious gift. Today such individuals are called mentors who share from their past experiences whether those experiences were successful or not.  Parents and family members tend to do this naturally. For many it is only natural to give Mom or Dad a call about this or that in order to get their advice.  In the area of sports veteran players can serve as great mentors for rookies who need to learn the system.   In the military those with years of experience are encouraged to help those just starting out. Personally I was blessed to have veterans who had deployed before going with me on my deployment. Their guidance was incredible and I will always appreciate their willingness to share.  


Sadly there are many obstacles to mentoring others.  One roadblock is that as we get older, we sometimes resent those who are following in our footsteps.  Some foolishly think that no one can do what they do, but that’s not true.  As saying goes, “the cemetery is full of folks who thought they were irreplaceable.”  No one is irreplaceable, and eventually each of us will be gone. In fact, one goal the military has is to always train those who are following in your footsteps, because some day we won’t be around.  Another roadblock is that many rookies think they already know all they need to know the same is true with children who think their parents are out of touch with today’s world.  I recall one grandmother trying to give some helpful advice to her daughter who just had her first child. The daughter replied, “Mom I’ve read all these books and they say this….”  Her mother replied, “And I have had four children”


Having someone to turn to for guidance and direction is great, and the best one to go to is God.  Some folks see the Bible as God’s instruction book on how to live.  They look at it for all kinds of advice, and indeed there is great guidance in the Bible.  But the Bible doesn’t answer all of our questions, because the main purpose of the scriptures was to teach us about life with God.  As John 20:30-31 writes  “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”  God wants us to have life now and forever. For that reason He sent His only son into to this world to live, die and rise again in order to pay the price for the sins of the world.  To help spread that good news Jesus called people to follow him.  As they followed him, Jesus taught them by word and by his life. The disciples learned from the greatest teacher of all time, and when the time was right they took on the role of teaching and mentoring others in the faith.  The story of Christ and his disciples is a great model for all of us as we give guidance tone another and learn from one another.


That’s just my thoughts from this SE corner of South Dakota


CH (COL) David Gunderson

State Chaplain for SDARNG