God uses ordinary people, qualified by His grace (1Co 1:26-30), to mentor others by passing on truth in practical and spiritual ways. Mentors provide a visible human dimension to the faith of new believers who take the Christian life seriously. The mentor’s role is to help one being mentored go beyond “Christian culture” to the high ground of sanctified curiosity, to convictions, to courage and commitment in the service of the Lord. Mentors need to be strong in faith in order to succeed in God’s work and lead others to claim God’s promises. The one being mentored needs to know what God says, meditate on it, act on its truth, follow the Lord and respond in personal faith.
Joshua: Willing to Learn from Moses
One who goes before God’s people has received His guidance from God’s Word, then teaches in practical ways those he mentors. Moses had written the Pentateuch, and Joshua had to know it well and act upon its teaching to be successful in what he had learned from his mentor. Boundaries described by God are passed on by consistent, unchangeable mentors who are sensible, diligent and determined to stay the course. God appoints leaders who have their confidence in Him. He will be with them in conflict and service, and He will not abandon them (Deu 34:9; Jos 1:5-9). Joshua was faithful in small things before doing big things. Moses had done a good job!
Effective mentoring is the product of good preparation and encouragement. Those committed to God are the best models. Mentors need to be acquainted with and devoted to God’s Word – men of meditation who practice what they preach and give God the glory for success. Those they mentored will have confidence in what they have been taught and will go ahead in their work for the Lord. Joshua was ready to lead!
Ruth: Willing to Listen to Naomi and Wait
Character is formed by the genes and also by training. Character traits are built by what we allow into our minds through our senses. Naomi had scriptural principles by which she lived, which included submission to authority and personal integrity. Ruth was conscious of God and had Naomi as her mentor, used by God to achieve His purposes for the future. Believers have standards that override the pressures of society because living by faith causes us to trust God and risk the unknown. “What ifs” may cripple us. Fear of failure because we are not sure of the outcome of a matter can stop faithfulness to God (Rut 1:16-17; 2:11-12). Naomi was open and faithful!
Remaining true to God can be quite difficult when times like this test our loyalty to the Lord and His Word. Ruth was willing to leave her homeland because she trusted her mentor. Risks are involved in where we go and what we do. Faithful Christians do what is right in spite of risks. Sharing openly your relationship with God can bring depth and intimacy to mentoring relationships. Some decisions are life-changing for me and some will have far-reaching consequences. Ruth, an example of love and loyalty to God, learned through Naomi to worship the true God, who accepted her worship and blessed her (Act 10:35). Ruth followed her example, and we, too, learn selflessness from mentors who lead us to walk in the same way. Ruth had listened and learned!
Esther: Learned from Mordecai to Act When Afraid
We need a strategy to reach goals that are meaningful, measurable and manageable. Define a course of action to reach a goal, and with confidence go forward in an orderly way. Take action, doing what is right in the sight of God. In life there are times to be quiet and times to speak. Faith may be more effective (Est 2:10) when one is quiet. To speak when spoken to can be suitable when words relating to the subject have been carefully planned.
It is important to build a good, solid reputation as a person to be trusted. One who trusts God when a wrong has been done to them can leave that whole matter, and the solution, to the sovereign God to deal with in His way. Life-threatening matters cannot be ignored (Est 4:8), so after facing the need, each action should be prioritized. Prepare your soul, seek the support of others, decide a course of action, and go ahead before you get cold feet. Confidence in God gives us the courage to deal with sensitive matters. Mordecai lived what he taught!
Don’t feel sorry for yourself or allow fear to make you hide. Mordecai, the mentor, and then Esther, the one mentored, took action by faith (Est 4:14). She was there “for such a time as this.” For the sake of others, and for our own sake, there comes a time to seize the moment with courage, conviction and grace. Challenges in life surprise and concern us when we don’t know why things happen. Trusting God (with even prayer and fasting) takes matters off the “back burner” to be first in our thoughts. Most solutions come when we precisely define the problem. When a step of faith in God is taken, go forward with assurance. “He knoweth the way that I take” (Job 23:10). Time taken before God in preparation for important activity is never wasted time. Esther trusted her mentor’s counsel!
Peter: Taught by Jesus to Go Ahead After Failure
Jesus taught new goals and new priorities to ordinary, available people who were teachable. His disciples were willing to keep going in spite of failures, and learned faith and understanding by experiences passed on from the greatest of all mentors – our Lord Jesus Christ. For some of the twelve, mentoring began while they were active in their regular employment. They heard what He taught and asked questions. Then mentoring took them further to give of their own time and labor (Mat 6:33; 9:36-39; 10:38; 11:28-30; 28:19-20). The Lord Jesus Christ looked beyond the failures of the disciples to their future labors!
They learned by experiencing successes and failures; both are good teachers. They made the most of every experience, and character traits were honed to the extent that submission, restraint, courage, compassion and love became evident to their Mentor. When He left them to go to His Father, our Lord promised to be with them even though they wouldn’t see Him. The whole world has been blessed by the efforts of those who learned from their Mentor. It is a mentor’s work to commit the things you have learned “to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2Ti 2:2 NKJV). The one who is mentored is to “preach the word … watch … endure … work” (4:1-5). The results of the disciples’ time of being mentored are evident worldwide today!