Mentoring can be a significant way for us to get to know each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. When we know a person who is more knowledgeable or experienced, we can then learn from that person. Although the Bible doesn’t come right out and use the term “mentor,” we can see relationships throughout both the old and New Testament that take on this structure. We often see one person guiding another, to help them make decisions, guide them, and mold them into the people that God wants them to be. Here are just a few examples:
Elijah and Elisha:
Elijah and Elisha were two prophets in Israel. Elijah confronted Jezebel and won victory over Baal on Mount Carmel, but he still felt alone. God spoke and told him to choose a successor, Elisha. This new relationship began as a result of God choosing Elisha. “Elijah went from there and found Elisha” (1 Kings 19:19). Elisha then “set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant” (v. 21b). Elisha learned how to be a prophet of God by being with Elijah, watching him, and listening to him continually. When Elijah was taken up to heaven in a chariot of God, Elisha immediately took up Elijah’s cloak and all those watching realized that “the spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha” (2 Kings 2:11-15). Elisha went on to do even greater things than Elijah in his ministry. Part of mentoring is to teach and encourage others to accomplish even greater ministries that the Lord has planned than us.
Barnabas and Paul:
Barnabas mentored Paul to use his gifts of teaching and preaching wherever they traveled. When Luke records their travels together in the Book of Acts. Barnabas encouraged the church in Jerusalem (Acts 4:36-37), encouraged the new believers in Antioch (Acts 11:22), brought Paul along to work in Antioch (Acts 11:25-26), accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey (Acts 13:2-3). Throughout Acts they are referred to as Barnabas and Saul, (Acts 11:26; 13:2), but after their ministry in Cyprus, they are referred to as “Paul and Barnabas.” Was Paul then looked upon as the leader of the duo from that point on? What does that say about Barnabas who poured himself into this mentoring role? His ministry was overshadowed, but his desire to see the fulfillment of Lord’s work to be done was more important.
Jesus and his disciples:
When we think of a mentorship we usually picture just two people. However the relationship between Jesus and his disciples can be the ultimate example of mentorship. Jesus let his love for God be the standard by which he loved his disciples. Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you. By this will all men know that you are my disciples?” (John 13:34,35). Instead of focusing on his disciples negative attributes, his lead them on the straight path. Jesus said to Peter who he knew would deny him three times, “feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17). His teaching and mentoring allowed these men to go on to be courageous leaders who would speak the truth of God around the world, and ultimately lead the growth of the Christian church.
Newton, Gary C. Growing Toward Spiritual Maturity. Evangelical Training Association.
Recently, through scripture and events in my life, I feel as though God has been speaking to me about the stirring of the Holy Spirit.
A few weeks ago, I started reading the Book of Ezra and was struck how God “stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus” (Ezra 1:1, NRSV) to have the Temple of the Lord rebuilt and how certain Israelite tribes, “everyone whose spirit God had stirred” (Ezra 1:5, NRSV), had responded to the call to rebuild the Temple. Cyrus wasn’t even an Israelite; he was the king of Persia, which was occupying Israel at the time.
I couldn’t help but think of Wayne and his mission team to Madagascar. The Holy Spirit stirred the Bishop of Toliara’s heart to request a South African team to assist them during their youth conference, and the Spirit stirred the hearts of six Capetonian youth leaders to answer this call. Plus, the Spirit stirred the hearts of countless donors to make this trip possible for the South African team.
The Spirit stirred the heart of one of our SAMS donors to send Wayne and me an article from Weavings, which gave a refreshing new take on Romans 12:1-2 (the passage about our bodies being the temple of the Holy Spirit). Romans 12:1-2 just happens to be the theme at the youth conference in Madagascar. How timely to receive such an article that will provide spiritual nourishment to the mission team who has gone to serve.
And just over the weekend, the Holy Spirit moved on Wayne’s heart to go to an ATM in a certain suburb. He was planning to go to another suburb to use the ATM and to pick up some flowers for me, but he felt a prompting to go to the suburb of Plumstead. While he was queuing for the ATM, a little boy was playing on the railings outside the bank and fell off, knocking his head on the concrete. Wayne is a first-aider and was able to patch up the little boy’s gashing wound. He then drove the boy and his father to a local hospital for medical care. Wayne never got around to giving me flowers that day, but I didn’t care. Having a husband who is so sensitive to the Holy Spirit surpasses a conservatory of flowers any day.
You may say that all of these instances are “coincidences,” but I like to think of them as stirrings of the Holy Spirit, which indeed they are.
I, as so many others, oftentimes forget how God is at work in the world, often in the simplest ways.