Summary: Mentoring is desperately needed in the modern church.
A Hole in Our Soul
Deuteronomy 4:5-10; 6:1-9
Introduction: I want to speak on a very important biblical topic that has become a buzz word recently in secular circles. The word is Mentor. I have recently seen two different commercials on TV in which stars like "Monica" from "Touched by an Angel" encourage people to become a mentor. She doesn’t explain what a mentor is, or tell you how to become a mentor. She only appeals for the TV audience to become one. The term "mentor" is not found in the Bible, and because secular people are using it Christians may dismiss it as a secular concept. However, the truth is that it is a major Bible issue, but because it is so tightly woven within the frame work of the Bible and the culture of that day we may overlook it. It is simply someone who is more experienced helping someone who is less experienced succeed in life. It is the concept behind the "Big Brother" and "Big Sister" programs in our cities, in which a child lacking a parent is given a same sex adopted role model to help them through the growing up period of their lives. Dr. James Dobson said in his book Parenting lsn’t for Cowards, `Attach a boy to a good man, and he seldom goes wrong." Dr. Terry
Wise defines mentoring as: "A relational experience in which one person empowers another by sharing God given resources." Jesus was the supreme mentor, and the way he went about it can be seen in the gospels. The Bible also records Moses mentoring Joshua; Naomi mentoring Ruth; Elijah mentoring Elisha; Elizabeth mentoring Mary; Barnabas mentoring Paul; Paul mentoring Timothy; and the list could go on and on. In Deuteronomy Moses gives the proper way to pass on principles, values, and experiences to the next generation. It is the same model Jesus used to disciple his followers in the New Testament. It is what I am going to call mentoring.
"See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, "Surely this great is a wise and understanding people." What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today? Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things that your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God as Horeb, when he said to me, "Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children." (Deut. 4:5-10)
God also told them how to do this teaching to their children, and it is found in Deuteronomy six
verses six through nine.
"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."
It was to be passed on as a part of every day life. It was not compartmentalized into a fifty minute classroom setting, but it was to be shared as they went about their every day activities. It was to be communicated through a relationship already established. We can learn from this model. The first question about this subject we need to look at is:
I Why do we need Mentors ?
The first reason is it’s the Bible way which is always the best way. From this passage of scripture we learn that information, values, and life skills are best learned in the context of a good relationship. In this scripture it is within the family relationships, but in many other places in scripture it is done in the context a varied relationships. It seemed that whenever God needed a new leader at a certain time he would put him alongside a leader several years before the need arose. An example of this is Moses and Joshua. One leader did not stop until a new leader had been trained. Often in the church we wait until we need a leader before we begin to look for one to train. In the Bible God overlapped leadership, so that the younger leader could learn from the older one. Where you work how do they train a person for a new machine or job? Do they give him a book to study about the machine for a week? Of course not! They put the new guy to be trained along side someone already running the machine for a week or two so that they can learn the job. Important information and values, experiences, skills and knowledge are best handed down as a part of every day life. Here, children were to be taught as they went through the day’s activities, and not in an hour long instruction time. However, today we have separated learning from life and relationships. We send our kids to school to get their academic learning, and to church and Sunday School for their religious learning. For the most part the only relationship with the instructor is during the hour of instruction. Now we can learn with absolutely no relationship through the computer on line courses, CD’s, books, and video’s. In the culture the Bible was written it the parents were responsible for the whole education process. Even in our frontier days the children worked and learned right alongside of their parents and their extended family. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all grew up within close proximity to each other, and the instruction from the parents was reinforced by the rest of the community. You didn’t dare to disobey dad, because some relative would tell day. This would bring accountability, but this would also give many more life models for the children to look up to and imitate. You see, for truth to be passed on there must be more than information given. There must also be important people modeling the truth as a lifestyle.