The Mentor

29 04 2018

Back in the 80s I got to know a talented guitarist who was playing a in a band known asRock _n one of the tops in their particular style of music. I loved to watch how he made difficult guitar riffs look easy and how you could see the joy he had performing his skills. When the opportunity came for me to meet him, I jumped at it. What a thrill to sit down over coffee with this artist and pick his brain on what it took to make it to the level he had in the music industry. But the story he shared with me on how he almost quit playing entirely became more interesting.

Early in is career he had worked with a lower level band like most trying to make it to the big time. His skills weren’t as crafted as they were now, but he loved playing and performing even if it was for only a small audience and looked forward to every gig. The band finally got its foot in the door as the opening performance for a well-known group that was going on tour. My friend was so excited about this opportunity he hardly slept most nights. Then several days before he was to leave, the group leader called to tell him he wouldn’t be going. They were replacing him with a better guitarist. Did that ever hit home! That same thing happened to me and the hurt and anger was so fierce in me I nearly destroyed my drum set. But even though he felt devastated he didn’t have a desire to tear up thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment. Talking it over with his wife, he felt the best thing to do was stop chasing the gold ring of the music industry; just get out and sell everything.

Several days after he listed his equipment for sale at a local music store, he got a call from a guy wanting to know why he was selling an expensive guitar for half its worth and could he come and look at it. Explaining he was giving up music and wanted to sell quick, the gentleman on the other end of the line agreed he would come to his house in an hour to look at it. Imagine the look on my friend’s face when he opened the door and there stood one of his music idols. After a lot of stammering and nearly shaking this icon’s arm off, he brought out the guitar.

In my friend’s words, “When he started playing my guitar my wife and I just stood there with smiles and in complete awe. We were getting a private concert from one that most people paid a good amount to hear. He was doing moves and riffs up and down the neck I only dreamed of doing. All the more affirmation that I wasn’t good enough to be in the industry. When he finished inspecting the guitar he asked why I was quitting so I told him. He handed the guitar back to me and said let me hear you play something, so I whipped through a couple of songs I did with the band. He went out the door saying he’s be right back and shortly returned carrying a guitar case. For the next two hours we sat at my kitchen table playing together with him showing better ways to play. Afterwards we agreed to get together so I could learn more from him. He would come to our house or we’d meet at his place for dinner with his wife. For about a year’s time we met at least once a month and I’d practice constantly what he taught me. He became my musical mentor, friend, and then my spiritual counselor when he told me of the love of Jesus and I accepted him into my heart. One day he called and asked me to come over for dinner but don’t bring my guitar, there was something he wanted to talk to me about. When we got there, he told how he was going out on the biggest tour he had ever done and we were excited for him. I might have lost consciousness for a just a moment with his next words, I want you to come along as my 2nd guitarist.  Here this guy had taught me to be a better musician, a better man, and what it meant to be a Christian and not just a religious person, and now he was putting icing on an already delicious cake!”

D.L. Moody:  “We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining–they just shine.”

By just starting out with being a friend, one “Traveler of the Rock Road” helped another not to give up on himself, to see that his best talents still hadn’t come out and let him know how special God saw him. How often do we have the chance to help others but we don’t want to take the time or get involved? Hey, I’m just as guilty as anyone! But just take a moment to consider maybe, just maybe, God put some individual in your path for the purpose of “you” being a friend, a mentor, a light to that individual. Just a thought.

Matthew 5:14-16 – “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.”

My friend doesn’t play professional music anymore, but is retired and works on what he calls his hobby farm. But I’m told he always has a young person he’s mentoring in music, life, and the love of Jesus. Now where did he ever get the idea to do something like that?!!

See ya next time.


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