“So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat…” (verse 19a)
Elijah was a “successful” prophet, yet he did not make excuses about being too busy or important to take on the no-name Elisha. Nor did Elijah claim to be inadequate or unwilling to take on Elisha as a mentee. If Elijah had not responded with obedience to train Elisha, then think of all the repercussions! If Pastor Mordecai Ham didn’t make time for a young Billy Graham, think how history might have been different! Elijah obeyed God’s command to mentor Elisha (verse 16) and it takes obedience for us to seek out a mentor or to be a mentor.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whom we celebrated last weekend, became the leader he was because he was committed to mentoring. Benjamin Mays, president of Morehouse College in Atlanta, is just one of the many leaders who invested in Dr. King. Dr. King wasn’t a self-made man! A community of people shaped him through mentoring him as well as Dr. King mentoring others.
The reality is that if you commit to mentoring someone this year, that relationship will impact both the mentee and you the mentor! Perhaps you are a leader who thinks, “Tim, I don’t have much to offer!” Be reminded of Paul’s admonition that God has prepared good works in advance for you to do (Ephesians 2:10). That means you have been given something that God intends for you to give to someone else. That could be resources, knowledge, encouragement, a listening ear, spiritual guidance or an opportunity they couldn’t have without your sponsorship. Making time for mentoring relationships is an act of obedience that aligns with God’s purpose for you as a leader.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
What resources do you have that you can begin praying about passing on to someone else? When you look at the people you oversee and manage, do you see some whom you could personally mentor? Do you find it difficult to imagine having the time to mentor someone? How much time does good mentoring take?
What kind of scheduling adjustment would you need to make if you took on a mentee this year? Do you find yourself assuming that mentoring must be weekly, in-person or specifically “spiritual” in content?
Again, think of those names that have impacted you: “If it weren’t for _______, then I wouldn’t be the leader I am today.” Take some time this week to write an email, a letter or make a phone call letting that person know the positive impact on your life. You and your mentor will be encouraged!
Father, in your wisdom we are made for good works that you have prepared for us in advance to do. Help us to see mentoring as one of those works that we can joyfully engage in this year as you open our minds to potential people that we could help in some way. We thank You in advance for the blessings we will receive for our obedience to mentor and we pray with expectation that mutual transformation will occur as we commit to these relationships. Give us the vision to see the impact of just one solitary life on another and growing vision to see this multiply in my life and in those I serve. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online Bible commentary: “What have you learned from a mentor?” – Jenny White