Who mentors who? – Vicar’s weekly thought 30th Sept

Who mentors who?

‘Mentoring’ sounds a modern buzz-word, some kind of management-speak. But actually, it’s  been understood from ancient times – those who have some experience have a responsibility to shape those who are now learning. Indeed, they will influence those following on whether they intend to or not! Apprenticeships are based on that principle, as is deeper training later on. St
Paul writes to his ‘apprentice’ Timothy, ‘Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.’ [1] Interestingly Paul doesn’t begin with questions about the best way to teach or guide others, but with Timothy’s own ‘training in godliness’. Your own deep following of God’s ways (which is what godliness is) is what in the end will rub off most on those looking to ‘see how you do it’ – we discipline
ourselves for the sake of others. Think about those who have influenced you most in the Christian life – surely what matters most will be how they are, how they react when the going is tough, what is reflected on the outside of what is happening inside. And all that comes from their own deep walk with God. Some of it will also be the gifts they have been given by God, prophetically, or just naturally in their character, and how they use those gifts, so you in turn can ask how you will use your own gifts. And above all, as Jesus said, it is how that person has let God’s Holy Spirit shape them [2] , for He is the Master at purifying, shaping, leading, revealing truth. It is not just our own good ideas, however good they may be! And if you think none of this involves you, others are wiser, older, more gifted – think again!! We are called to nurture and care for others in Christ as our lives are shared in different ways at different
times. It is a privilege and joy that this is so – you will be surprised at who you are in fact shaping whether you know it or not!

[1] 1 Tim 4.8  [2] Jn 14.16,17 & 26