I Was Just Thinking About – MANTLES AND MENTORING.
A foible in life is that many people do not allot or make time to invest in another's life by becoming positively engaged and involved in it. Mentoring means: “a wise or trusted adviser or guide; one who trains another.” The Biblical model is the ministry of Jesus Christ and the training of the twelve. His injunction was simple and clear: “Follow Me…I will make you…” into that which I want you to be – “fishers of men.” He was the teacher and example for what He wanted them to become and be for Him in ongoing ministry effort.
Mentoring involves God bringing two or more people together where a younger man can learn and benefit from the ministry, life and training of one who is experienced in ministry. While this happens often in the secular field (one becoming an apprentice of an experienced person), the focus in this Blog is the need for it to occur more frequently in the spiritual area. The idea of mentoring is to maintain that which must be ongoing with practical instruction and guidance. It is the desire that trial by error can and will be avoided.
A difficulty is the desire of the one needing mentoring to be willing to receive it. I recently watched a program on this subject by two ministers who had been mentored and were given opportunity to mentor others. It did remind me of an experience of several years ago. I was part of a small group of both layman and ministers who met weekly. On one occasion, there was a Spirit-led time of transparency. As different ones shared areas of vulnerability, there was time of prayer for the individual who was sharing a sense of need and inadequacy. I felt led to share a vulnerability and was interrupted by a dear brother in Christ (now in the presence of the Lord) who said: “And I thought you had your act together.”
It was not timely or helpful, but it was hurtful. Why hurtful? From age five, I did not have the relationship with my earthly father. He was in the Hospital and died when I was age seven. I grew up in a community and atmosphere where I was told that I’d never amount to anything and was even referred to with a coarse term that is defined as being illegitimate. In my childhood and teen years, it was my sister who consistently showed me love and affirmation. There were a handful of layman who nudged me along as well.
It reminds one of I Corinthians 4:14-16 and the principle of mentoring, “I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children. Even if you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me.” The other reminder is in I Kings 19:16, the Lord directs Elijah, “Elisha you shall anoint to be prophet in your place.” Elijah was obedient to the Lord’s directive, First Kings 19:19 (NASB), “Elijah passed over to him and threw his mantle (cloak) on him.” Paul wrote to Timothy about the significance of mentoring, II Timothy 2:2 (NIV), “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”
There are many passages to note on the subject of mentoring. Basically, it means one should be willing and ready to invest his/her life in that of another person(s). Sometime, the lack of peer acceptance is a detriment to ones mentoring desire and effort. In 2012, I wrote about peer acceptance and appreciation in a book – Realizing Significance. Part of the theme indicates there are no unneeded, insignificant, unacceptable, inconsequential or little people in God’s kingdom. Francis Schaefer wrote: “There are no little people and no big people. There are either consecrated people or unconsecrated people.”
Relationally, can we remember this as we try to mentor others? Have you made a difference in another’s life and ministry? Have you allowed yourself to be vulnerable when reaching out to another with “the things you have heard” and learned so they can “entrust (it) to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others”?
Prayerfully – consider these things with me.