by Hugh Whelchel
“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors, there is safety.” Prov 11:14
How intentional are you in deciding who you hang out with? If you are like most of us the answer is, “Not very.” In fact, we often don’t even see how the people in our lives affect us. Yet, the impact others can have on our lives can be so significant, it can radically change us for the better or worse.
In the 1930s, a group including C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams met regularly to discuss philosophy and literature and to read aloud from their own works in progress. The influence of the different group members on those works in progress was huge. It was in this company that such classics as The Lord of the Rings, The Screwtape Letters, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe first found an audience. This group eventually became known as the Inklings.
Many other successful individuals formed meeting groups of like-minded people and have written about how those groups helped them to achieve their goals and grow. Benjamin Franklin launched “The Junto” in the 18th century, and Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and others gathered in the early 1900’s as the “Vagabonds.” Today, this type of group is often called a “mastermind group.”
The Bible stresses the importance of such friendships. The book of Proverbs says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another" (27:17) and, “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice” (12:15).
The Bible also warns about the possible negative impact of some relationships:
Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways and find a snare for yourself.… (Prov. 22:24-25).
From our informal friendships to our more formal mentoring groups, relationships are important. And as Christians, we should purposefully build peer groups to help us grow in all areas of our lives. We should be people committed to helping each other.
Intentional relationships make us much more productive, creative, and purposeful.
So who do you spend time with? Is there a CLS chapter near you? Are you connected with other Christians in the profession? Are you too busy?
Finally, everyone should have a Timothy and Paul in their lives, someone you are mentoring and someone mentoring you. Take this time to consider who they are in your life, and if you are missing them, it might be time to change.
Dear God, Thank you for bringing people into my life who sharpen me, challenge me, and encourage me. Remind me daily that I am to be a blessing to others as others are a blessing to me. Amen.
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Hugh Whelchel is Executive Director of the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics (www.tifwe.org) and author of How Then Should We Work?: Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work. CLS works with the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics (IFWE) to provide thoughtful and inspiring devotionals to CLS members. IFWE is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) Christian research organization committed to promoting biblical and economic principles that help individuals find fulfillment in their work and contribute to a free and flourishing society.