Wisdom Invests in Others’ Lives
by Jack Frederick
I know Wyndham. He is a friend, mentor, fishing buddy, counselor, shepherd of my soul, minister, football player and family best friend. We spent twenty years together doing all of the above and having fun. Wyndham is maybe two years younger, but perhaps his most important role to me was being like a father to me. Wyndham has always been a man of wisdom beyond his years. When I became a Christian I began to recognize the value of wisdom and sought wisdom for my life, though I considered myself ten years behind the wisdom curve for my age.
I made every opportunity to spend time with Wyndham and Jeanie, seeking to soak up wisdom just being around him. Our families (parents and kids), loved one another from the start and we spent lots of family times doing fun things. Wyndham and Jeanie were our discipleship partners in life and ministry for many years (“discipleship partner” is Greek for ‘good friend,’ or at least it should be). If you’re in a discipling relationship and you don’t build a good friendship then you need to reevaluate and likely repent, because you’re not helping one another as you should. Partner is also an operative word, as discipling partners is a two-way relationship; we share honestly about our lives and we apply scriptures and friendship to disciple one another to become more like Jesus. Wyndham and Jeanie were the best at that. They opened their lives to us and asked us for help just like we were peers, though we knew they had more experience and training. But that was never a barrier to them seeking our insights and help.
Wyndham’s midweek house church lesson in the fall of 1987 convinced us to move to Boston. Before then we had never met, but it was obvious from that one lesson he was a man of deep conviction, passion, integrity and wisdom. Beyond this it was a blessing/good fortune that they came to live near us a year after we moved to Boston. I trusted Wyndham–probably the first man I learned to trust enough to open my heart and life. He was wise, a man skilled in leading, and yet he took the time to know me. I had friends I loved to whom I owe much, but I had never had a man with such ability and qualities take the time to teach & mentor me, and to be a best friend to me. He wasn’t older than me, but he was far wiser. He was like the father I didn’t have–a father of great wisdom, and a father with a heart and determination to impart to me his wisdom. I feel like an unlikely recipient of a wonderful gift, a man of great ability & wisdom willing to invest himself to help me grow to become the man God wanted me to be. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one he so invested himself into, but I feel fortunate in a special way—in that our families drew us even closer together.
It has been my experience in both business and spiritual life that no education or training compares with a friend who genuinely invests in helping you grow. I enjoyed friendships with business and university leaders who guided me and shared wisdom, many spiritual advisers, but no one who invested so much or did so much to help me grow as did Wyndham. I wasn’t the Shaws best student, but I may have been their most eager student. Wyndham was like the father I didn’t have growing up. He treated me with respect and helped me know how to be the man God wanted me to become. I worked hard to grow and honor his investment in me and my family. I owe him so much.
We are older now. We moved away from Boston several years ago but the stamp of Wyndham’s influence is etched into my heart. I quote him, I remember him, I speak of him everywhere I go, and his influence shapes how I help others and how I love my family. Age and health problems take their toll, but these have not diminished my love and respect for this man who shaped my life. When I help others I think of what Wyndham did and what Wyndham taught me. He is a great dad in life, as is obvious in his children, and I am indebted to Wyndham that he took the time to be a father influence in my life. I love you brother, happy Father’s Day.– Jack