When we look at the world today and things going on, we see a lot of people going into one form of business or the other and every form of business needs people, some novice and some who may have knowledge or have acquired certificates or degrees for such profession yet you will see that they still need someone who is more advanced in such field of training to coach them on certain areas they are deficient in. This takes us to Mentorship or Mentoring.
What is Mentorship?
The Dictionary has it that it is the guidance provided by a mentor, especially an experienced person in a company or educational institution. It is also a period of time during which a person receives guidance from a mentor, say a two-year mentorship with an entrepreneur in a tech start-up.
Mentorship could also mean a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less knowledgeable person.
Let’s bring the definition home by simplifying it. Who is a mentor?
A mentor is someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person. As we can see from all the definitions, it is either guidance provided by an experienced person or teaching or help and advice given to a less experienced person. The mentor or trainer passes all he knows to his trainee or apprentice as known in some fields of craftsmanship.
Formerly it was the younger people that were mainly focused on but now it is not so because everybody need a guidance or training for self development and or improvement.
We are not going to mention how mentorship came into being but we shall just delve a little into some notable examples of mentors from the Big Book of Wisdom as well as in our internet world.
From the Old Testament; we saw how God personally took Moses when he fled from Egypt to tending flocks of his father-in-law into becoming a leader. While he was performing his duty, he saw the bush burning without any of bush being consumed by the fire and out of inquisitive, turned to see how such things could be positive. In the process of turning to see the wonders, God called Him out of the burning bush and ask him to remove his sandals for the ground for which he stood was a holy ground. And God had a long discussion with Moses as to turn him into a leader to His people. The under-listed is the dialogue between God and Moses.
Moses gave so much excuses as to escape from the hands of God. Let’s peruse and see how Moses engaged God and or how God is supreme over all and all things. This is recorded in Exodus 3: 10 – 4:1-17 as paraphrased below:
God: Come now, …and I will send you to Pharaoh that that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt”
Moses: (But Moses said to God), “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?
God: (So He said,) “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you; When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.
Moses: (Then Moses said to God,) Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they say to me “What is His name? what shall I say to them?”
God: (And God said to Moses,) “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you. “Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: The Lord God of Your Fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My Name forever, and this is My Memorial to all generations. “Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob appeared to me saying, I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt; and I have said I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of … to a land flowing with milk and honey. Then they will heed your voice; and ye shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the King of Egypt and you shall say to him, The Lord God of the Hebrews has met with us; and now, please, let us go three days journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God. But I am sure that the King of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a might hand. So I will stretch out My Hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go. And I will give this people favor… and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed.
Moses: (Then Moses answered and said,) But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say: The Lord has not appeared to you
God: (So the Lord said to him,) What is that in your hand?
Moses: (He said) A Rod.
God: (And He said,) Cast it on the ground
Moses: (So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it.
God: (Then the Lord said to Moses,) Reach out your hand and take it by the tail
Moses: (And he reached out his hand and caught it and it became a rod in his hand
God: (That they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers,… has appeared to you. Furthermore, the Lord said to him, “Now put your hand in your bosom”.
Moses: (And he put his hand in his bosom, and when he took it out, behold his hand was leprous, like snow.
God: And He said, Put your hand in your bosom again
Moses: So he put his hand in his bosom, and drew it out of his bosom, and behold, it was restored like his other flesh
God: Then it will be, if they do not believe you, nor heed the message of the first sign that they may believe the message of the latter sign. And it shall be, if they do not believe even these two signs, or listen to your voice, that you shall take water from the river and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take from the river will become blood on the dry land.
Moses: (Then Moses said to the Lord, O my God, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue”
God: (So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? or Who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say”
Moses: But he said, “O My Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else you may send”.
God: (So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and He said: Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will teach you what you shall do. So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you and you shall be to him as God….
This was what transpired between Moses and God; God never allow Moses to decline the responsibility He has given him but allow assistance from others especially from Aaron his brother; Joshua and other elders of the children of Israel. And as Moses obeyed – God saw him throughout the episode as He promised to be with him. And as Moses obeyed, God saw him throughout the episode as He promised to be with him.
Another example is Elijah and Elisha – After Elijah had his encounter with the prophets of Baal; and Jezebel Ahab’s wife threatened to kill Elijah; and Elijah feared for his life and prayed to God to take his life. (See 1 Kings 19:1-4) as stated thus: And Ahad told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “so let the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.
And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life and went to Beersheba…. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die and said, It is enough! Now Lord take my life….
It was at this point; God sent His angel to minister to him and to send him on a journey for forty days and forty night. On the mountain of the Lord, Mount Horeb (where God appeared also appeared to Moses at the Burning Bush); there God also appeared to Elijah and told him that he is not alone but that He has reserved seven thousand people in Israel that have never bowed to Baal. There and then He told him to anoint Elisha- the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholahim in his place as well as others.
So Elijah did according to God’s command and Elisha followed him and became his servant. When God was to call Elijah home; Elijah tried all means to let Elisha not see him go but Elisha pressed on to be with his master/mentor all through the journeys God sent Elijah; and when Elijah saw that he could not persuade Elisha to stay away from him; he told him to ask what he may do for him before he is taken away from him and Elisha requested for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit to be upon him.
And Elijah told him that could be a difficult request but that if he sees him when he’s being taken up; then his request will be granted. So it was as they were talking that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire and separated them and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven and Elisha based on the promise of his master, saw and cried and Elijah’s mantle fell on him and from that moment, Elisha started performing miracles- first by parting River Jordan as his mentor did. (2 Kings 2:1-15 referred.) According to the Bible, Elisha performed more miracles than his master hence he received the double portion from his master.
Another example of a mentor is our Lord Jesus and His disciples. We saw how He called His disciples (most of whom were men of low reputation but after being with their master , their story and reputation changed (See my write-up ). He walked with them, taught them for a few years and within those period of training; send them out on Tasks to prove their mettle and He finally left them – His physical presence with them was absent but spiritually He was always with them according to His various promises to them – I will not leave you comfortless… These things have I spoken unto you being yet present with you. But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
John 14:29-30 says; And now I have told you before it come to pass, that when it is come to pass, ye might believe. Hereafter I will not talk much with you for the prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me.
Jesus made His disciples to know His purpose of coming into the world; He guided them through the paths of life and gave them a better opportunity to perceive things differently and after every thing came to pass – ie His betrayal, death on the cross and resurrection, He reappeared to strengthen their faith that was weak due to His death.
This reawakening of the disciples brought massive explosion to the growth of the Church of Jesus Christ and Christianity was born.
Another great mentor was Apostle Paul – first he persecuted the church and tried to stop or diminish the popularity of the spread of the word of God and activities of Christ but who can battle with God- nobody. If God speaks a thing it comes to pass or fulfillment so Saul then rather than become a stumbling block became a mentor to so many people including young Timothy, Titus and others.
Most of the writing in the Book of the Arts of the Apostles recorded his story, his acts, conversion, ministry and suffering and how he was willing to die for the name of the Lord.
1 Tim.1: 1-2 using the NLT stated thus: This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, appointed by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus, who gives us hope. I am writing to Timothy, my true son in the faith…. See also Titus whom he also called his son too in Titus 1:1&4; This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. I am writing to Titus, my true son in the faith that we share….
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If you have any questions and suggestions please don’t hesitate to leave your comments and I will be glad to respond to them.