Dr. Dale Hammond was one of my Bible professors at Hannibal LaGrange College. For some reason, Dr. Hammond took an interest in me. His first priority for me was to disciple me in the faith. But he wasn’t just a teacher, he was a mentor. I wouldn’t have known to use that term in 1984, but he was.
Mentoring is a relationship in which a mentor helps a protégé reach his or her God given potential. Effective mentors are like friends in that their goal is to provide safe contexts for growth. Except for love, the greatest gift one person can give to another is the gift of growth. Each one of us needs someone to look up to; a wiser, usually older, God-energized guide who can help us find our way through this new and unfamiliar landscape that is not for faint hearts or weak stomachs. Sir Issac Newton said, “If I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Who is helping you to turn your tinkling tin can into the sounding gong of wisdom?
The Rabbinical practice of Bible times helps us understand the principles we’ll examine in the text. A young man would be evaluated for aptitude and potential. He would initially have to have memorized both the Torah and the Mishnah. If he passed the test, the Rabbi would then put his cloak over the shoulders of the young man and he would enter a life of apprenticeship. The relationship between the Rabbi and the apprentice would be closer than any family relationship. Then, at the age of 40, the apprentice would become “of age” and become a full fledged practicing Rabbi. If you think about it, Jesus modeled a similar practice with the 12 disciples.
This week’s series is going to focus on the mentoring relationship between Paul and Timothy. Paul and Timothy first met in Acts 16:1-4. That meeting began a mentoring relationship that would continue through the end of Paul’s years. How did that relationship work? What do you look for in a mentor? Check in frequently this week for eight characteristics of a mentor.