In my mid-twenties, I was part of the leadership team for our young adult group at church. One day a younger friend on the team said, “I feel like you’re trying to mentor me, but I’d rather you were my friend than a mentor.” I felt embarrassed and hurt at her words, but agreed that I had started to view her as a project. When I changed how I saw her, we were free to be friends again.
To make mentoring work well, both parties need to agree on their expectations—unlike what happened with my younger friend. I hadn’t been exercising wisdom.
The book of Proverbs bursts with the wisdom shared by a father to his son. In chapter 9, the personified Wisdom plans and prepares as she welcomes people to enjoy her feast (Proverbs 9:1-5), in opposition to Folly, who serves only stolen food and water (Proverbs 9:17). Verses 9-11 (which can be interpreted as either Wisdom speaking or as a set of proverbs that can be read on their own) reflect how the wise welcome wisdom as they fear God. Because they prize wisdom, they never stop learning and becoming wiser still (Proverbs 9:9).
A mentoring relationship is something believers in Jesus of all stages of maturity can pursue, because no one’s too wise to stop learning. When both people share similar expectations and goals, they can move forward in a fruitful partnership. In fact, mentors will probably find they learn and grow from the wisdom of those they’re mentoring as well.
If you haven’t before, consider engaging in a mentoring relationship. As you allow others to pour into your life and subsequently pour into others’ lives as God leads, you may find yourselves amazed by the way your life is deepened and transformed.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: John 6:41-71
Read Proverbs 27:17 and consider how it relates to mentoring relationships.
Do you have an experience with mentoring, either formally or informally? What could such a relationship mean for you?