Servant mentors

Servant mentors

Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. – 2 Timothy 2:2

Exodus 18:17-24

 17 “This is not good!” Moses’ father-in-law exclaimed.

 18 “You’re going to wear yourself out – and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself.

 19 Now listen to me, and let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. You should continue to be the people’s representative before God, bringing their disputes to him.

 20 Teach them God’s decrees and give them his instructions. Show them how to conduct their lives.

 21 But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten.

 22 They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you.

 23 If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace.”

 24 Moses listened to his father-in-law’s advice and followed his suggestions.

In Greek Myth and Legend, when Odysseus, a.k.a. Ulysses, left for Troy, Mentor, his trusted friend and loyal adviser, was put in charge of the household of Odysseus. He was given responsibility for the education of Telemachus, the son of Odysseus. Mentor soon became the guardian and trusted advisor of Telemachus.

The story of Mentor, became the source of our English word mentor. A mentor is a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.

Mentoring consists of a relationship, frequently long-term, which focuses on supporting the growth and development of the mentee. The mentor is the mentee’s source of direction, wisdom, education, and support.

Mentoring involves the willingness and ability of the mentor to serve. But it also requires the mentees willingness to be guided, directed, and instructed. Absent, apathetic mentors, or reluctant, defiant mentees disrupt the process.

While the word mentor is not in the Scriptures, the Scriptures are replete with examples of people who served as mentors: Jethro -> Moses, Naomi -> Ruth, Mordecai -> Esther, Barnabas -> Paul, Paul -> Timothy.

Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, was wise and perceptive. He mentored Moses. Moses had taken on himself the sole responsibility for settling disputes between people. Jethro observed the process and recognized immediately that Moses was overextended. Jethro advised him to change his ways. More than that, he provided specific steps of action that proved to be very effective.

Exodus 18:17-24

 17 “This is not good!” Moses’ father-in-law exclaimed.

 18 “You’re going to wear yourself out – and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself.

 19 Now listen to me, and let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. You should continue to be the people’s representative before God, bringing their disputes to him.

 21 But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten.

 22 They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you.

 23 If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace.”

 24 Moses listened to his father-in-law’s advice and followed his suggestions.

REFLECT & PRAY

Servant mentors gladly encourage the friendless and dejected. It can make all the difference.

Father thank you for the mentors you have provided for me. May I mentor others, as I have been mentored.

INSIGHT

Barnabas had grown into a remarkable servant mentor. The leaders of the church in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to mentor the new believers at Antioch. Barnabas asked Paul to assist him. (Acts 11:26). Wherever they traveled, undoubtedly Barnabas encouraged Paul to use and develop his spiritual gifts. Barnabas mentored Paul. We know how that story ended.

Barnabas played a critical role in encouraging John Mark. During Paul’s first missionary journey, John Mark failed miserably and abandoned his responsibilities. Paul concluded that John Mark was unreliable (Acts 13:13). This caused a division in the close working relationship between Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36-39). Paul refused to take John Mark on his second missionary journey.

Barnabas had taken a big risk on Paul. Now he took a risk on John Mark. That is what servant mentors do. He gave John Mark a second chance. John Mark not only overcame the past, he went on to serve effectively (2 Timothy 4:11).

But there is more to the story. If there had been no Barnabas to encourage and mentor, Paul might never have been embraced by those whom he had formerly persecuted. He might never have become the author of thirteen books of the New Testament. If John Mark had not been encouraged and given a second chance by Barnabas, the gospel of Mark might never have been written.

Servant mentors encourage their mentees, believing in them. They often restore them to wholeness and usefulness. An encourager motivates those they serve to believe in themselves and do their best.

When Barnabas met Paul, Paul was blind and friendless. Barnabas introduced Paul to the reluctant and frightened leaders of the Jerusalem church (Acts 9:27-28). Barnabas came alongside the rejected and now dejected John Mark. He took Mark with him and sailed to Cyprus to mentor those in need there (Acts 15:39).

So you might conclude that Barnabas acting as a servant mentor was tangentially responsible for the writing of fourteen books of the New Testament.

Servant mentors encourage and train those in their care. Their goal is to work themselves out of a job. They are willing to pour their lives into others, who may eventually go on to have tremendous impact. When the mentee becomes successful, the mentor rejoices in their success.

When Luke records the early travels of Paul and Barnabas together in the book of Acts, he refers to them as “Barnabas and Saul” (Acts 11:26; 13:2). Luke changes the order after their time in Cyprus together. Throughout the rest of the book of Acts, Luke refers to them as “Paul and Barnabas” (Acts 13:13).

Why? The Father chose to bless Paul’s efforts in an extraordinary way. Barnabas was now playing second fiddle. Barnabas undoubtedly rejoiced in his mentee’s success.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: