Bible Order: Joshua 11–13
Chronological Order: Deuteronomy 1
New Testament Only: Mark 12:13–34
I’ve said before that I intend for us to look for what God has to say about godly manhood as we read through the scriptures together. With that said, the issue of mentoring comes up in Numbers 27:12-23. In that passage God tells Moses that it is time for him to “be gathered to your people”. Moses asks that the Lord appoint someone to replace him and God chooses Joshua the son of Nun, of course.
I say “of course” because Joshua has been prepared for this. Moses had been mentoring Joshua since they left Egypt. Moses had sent him out to fight against Amalek while he stood above the battle with the staff of God raised in his hands (Exodus 17:9). Moses sent Joshua out to spy out Canaan and was one of only two that came back and urged that the Israelites trust in the Lord and take possession of the land (Numbers 14:6-9). Joshua was the only one to go part of the way up the mountain with Moses when he went up Mount Sinai to meet with God (Exodus 24:13). Moses had him with him on at least one occasion when he went into the tabernacle (Exodus 33:11).
What is important to note about the mentor relationship is while Joshua was being groomed for eventual leadership he was also supporting Moses. In every great challenge Moses faced Joshua was faithfully nearby. Too often I think we look at a mentoring relationship as a one way street. Being a mentor is a big responsibility. It forces us to behave in a way worthy of emulation. It requires that we observe the one being mentored and encouraging them, and at times perhaps forcing them, at the right moment in their development, to take the next step.
By the same token leadership can be a heavy burden and it is awfully nice to have someone to help shoulder the load and encourage you to keep on keeping on.
As men we have many opportunities to mentor and be mentored and I think we need to do both. From the mentoring side we can mentor our children, our co-workers or subordinates, our friends, our family members, even the neighbor child who doesn’t have a dad. We might even be able to mentor our spouse but I’d be careful here. The marriage relationship is extremely important and different from all other human relationships. Mentoring may be the wrong term and approach here.
By the same token, there is much each of us can learn from another godly man and we should look for the opportunity to grow as a Mentee (I think I just made up a word). Please understand that we grow both as a mentor and as a mentee (I like this new word – remember you heard it here first folks). Remember that you have been given a sacred trust to mentor your children, even if they don’t want to be mentored. Beyond that you should look for opportunities to mentor others as the situation warrants. Guys, be careful when mentoring individuals of the opposite sex. You cannot allow yourself to be alone with a woman who is not your wife. Such a mentoring relationship is too vulnerable to degenerating into something inappropriate.
You should also look for an opportunity to be mentored. We always have something we can learn and, as I’ve said before, I’ve learned from others with less formal education and with fewer years on this earth than me. You are not alone and were not intended to be alone. Your wife should be your closes support relationship but after that is in appropriate working order find a male shoulder you can lean on. Don’t worry; I’m sure John Wayne would approve.
Have a blessed day!
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!
(Originally posted 2/25/10)