We began talking about loving others through mentoring relationships. Last time we took time to define mentoring. Now let’s look at some biblical examples of mentoring relationships.
Elijah and Elisha
God told Elijah to anoint Elisha to succeed him as prophet. God gave Elijah a mandate to mentor and train Elisha for succession (1 Kings 19:16 – Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet.)
However, Elisha had to make the choice to accept the mentoring relationship of Elijah (1 Kings 19:21 – So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant.)
Naomi and Ruth
Ruth chose her mother-in-law Naomi as her mentor. After Ruth’s husband died she had a choice to go back to her homeland, but instead she chose to submit to the leadership of Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17 – But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”)
Naomi accepted the responsibility to mentor Ruth. In Ruth 1:18, the Bible tells us that Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to follow her so Naomi stopped urging Ruth to go back to her homeland. Naomi mentored Ruth by allowing her to see, hear and feel all the joy and anguish of her personal journey and her relationship to God. Sharing openly about our relationship with God can bring depth and intimacy to our relationships with others.
I have a mentor today who has mentored me for many, many years. When she first became my mentor I did not know her extremely well. However, I did pray and she is the person that God directed me to. God allowed me to observe her life and it lined up with His Word. As in the example with Naomi and Ruth, I initiated the mentoring relationship and she accepted the responsibility to mentor me. It has been such a fruitful relationship for us both.
Jesus and His disciples
Jesus invested time mentoring the disciples. He got them involved in His public ministry and taught and discipled them as He went along. He mentored by example. Jesus invested time individually, within a small group (Peter, James and John) and within the larger group of the twelve. Jesus developed relationships with His disciples by investing time into them and showing that He cared. (Example: Spending time in fellowship at Peter’s house…healing Peter’s mother-in-law when she was ill…time with Lazarus, Martha and Mary.)
Susan Pahlau, founder of Inner Fire Ministries, mentors many women. She mentors through spiritual formation groups and through 1-on-1 relationships. As the leader of IFM Susan mentors her team by investing her time and belief into them. Susan also mentors others by her example in ministry.
Do you have a mentor?
Are you mentoring someone?
Next time we will talk about how to develop a mentoring relationship.