Summary: We all should have a mentor and be a mentor
Four years ago, when the New England Patriots began the 2002 season they were a group of mostly average players that no one really expected much from. Four games into the season, their all-pro quarterback Drew Bledsoe was injured and unable to play for the majority of the season and their win-lose record stood at 1-3. 23 year old rookie, Tom Brady, was the replacement for Bledsoe, which at the time didn’t look to promising for the Patriots’ 2002 season. At that point, Vegas set the odds for the Patriots to win the Superbowl as 10,000 to 1.
The Patriots overcame the odds that season to win the Superbowl for a number of reasons. Many look back on that year and attribute their success to coaching mastermind Bill Belichick. Others look at the now, 2 time Superbowl MVP and all-pro quarterback Tom Brady as the reason for their success. Still others contribute their winning seasons to the player’s abilities to play unselfishly and to come together as a team like never before.
As those are definitely all true reasons for their success, I think there is one more significant reason that is often overlooked. That reason is Drew Bledsoe! Now, I know some of you are thinking, “Wait a minute…He was injured and just sat on the sidelines most of the season.” As that is true I would make the argument that it is only half true. Yes, Bledsoe was injured and couldn’t play most of the season but he did a lot more than just sitting on the sidelines.
As the youngster Brady began to lead the team, Bledsoe quickly became his coach and mentor, working close with him and helping him in any way he could. Even latter in the season, when Bledsoe recovered from his injury and was told that Brady was going to continue to start, he didn’t complain or gripe about it but set out to make sure that Brady didn’t make any of the same mistakes he had made as a rookie. This mentor relationship between Drew Bledsoe and Tom Brady was a major contribution to the Patriots 2002 Superbowl victory as well as to the continued success of Tom Brady.
This idea of a mentor relationship is not only found in football. Matt Clement expressed that one of his reasons for signing with the Boston Red Sox was so that he could gain wisdom from the likes of Curt Schilling and Jason Varitek. Business and leadership guru John Maxwell stresses the importance of mentoring in the final chapter of his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, as he writes that “A leader’s lasting value is measured by succession.” When you want to succeed in music, arts, and trades the best thing to do is to take lessons or an apprenticeship from someone that can teach you everything you need to know.
Throughout scripture, mentoring is something that is seen very regularly to help people grow in their relationship with God. One could call it a one-on-one discipleship method. We see it between Jesus and his disciple John, who is refereed to five times as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” We see it with Eli and Samuel in the Old Testament. We see it multiple times with Paul, first being mentored by Barnabas and then mentoring Titus and, as our text shows, Timothy.