Blog To My Mentor: Encouraging An Encourager

Dear Ritson:

Following the starter it’s time to get on with the main course.

It has been nearly twenty years now, which means you have been a part of my life for the majority of my conscious life. One of the thoughts that comes to my mind reflecting on that is that in as much as I can never tell for certainty anything that would have happened otherwise, one thing I can say for a certainty is that my life is better for having you invest significantly in me.

It was not as though I had absolutely no idea about myself. It wasn’t that bad. But it was bad. The whole transition from childhood to adulthood wasn’t something I took very seriously especially with the cocoons and bubbles of where I grew up and university life. I am grateful that you helped me by challenging me about that.

Something else I am very grateful for is the basis of the relationship being one of friendship. I am so glad that the airs and graces were not necessary for meaningful engagement. In as much as I prefer to defer, it was something hugely encouraging to come across someone who didn’t have a problem serving me. Didn’t have a problem at all hearing me and my various complaints and issues. Didn’t have a problem with me at my very worst. Thank you for standing for me when I couldn’t stand for myself and thank you for standing to me when I refused to take the necessary stand. You have taught me on a number of tough occasions that the best way to support someone at times is to say the necessary truths without the sugar-coating.

What makes that all the more valuable is that it was always in the context of your constant encouragement for me to refer to the grace of God, the centrality of Jesus and the dependence on the power of the indwelling Spirit to live. I did  not live up to those encouragements all the time for sure, but that didn’t deter you from bringing me back to them. Encouraging me again and again where my roots were to be found. Bringing me back time after time to where I find my identity. I can never thank you enough for making that so essential to life. All aspects of life from my employment attitude and choices to being a better husband to the amazing wife God gave me. I know you’ve done a great work in my life because that amazing wife won’t stop raving about you, so that’s something else big in your favour.

There were dreams I had deep inside me that I never thought could possibly be realised. There were steps I was fearful of making because of the effects it would have on all that I had done. Thanks for that encouragement to be true to what God was saying and where He was leading. Indeed if I am in receipt of the perfect love of God that should surely cast out all fear from being faithful to what He’s called me to do wherever He’s called me to do it. That is still a lesson I know I need to apply – and I am grateful for you saying it and show it too.

Speaking of showing it, thanks also for being a mentor who has been open with your own life – not just looking to tell me what to do about mine, but sharing yours too. It has deepened my love for you that you opened your home to me and that your family accepted me with so much love that I remain in awe of almost anyone associated with you! Open home, open heart, open life lived to encourage me to live in the same way to enable others to follow in the footsteps of our Saviour.

That you showed me this under the various challenges you were facing was very telling for me about what you were encouraging in me.

It should be clear round about now that I am grateful for your life, sir. It’s my heart’s desire to express that gratitude by pursuing Jesus and encouraging others to do the same. There are a few brothers that I have the chance to share life with and you have incarnated what it is to share Jesus to others. I am endeavouring to do the same for them in our walk with Christ.

Thank you, sir. I look forward to others being blessed by association with you.

For His Name’s Sake


C. L. J. Dryden


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