Moses and Joshua
Moses (right) and Joshua

Are you involved in a mutually beneficial mentoring/student relationship? What is holding you back?

You don’t have to be perfect to be a mentor—just willing. The man who struck a rock when God had said, “Speak to it,” got disqualified from entering the Promised Land … but not from mentoring Joshua.

I can think of a number of unwise decisions I’ve made in leadership that might give me pause about ever qualifying as a mentor. I overspent on a building program once that almost sank a church. Another time, I landed in the hospital with chest pains that turned out to be stress from too many long days and not taking a day off.

Despite these and other flaws in my leadership, God put a desire in my heart to look for mentoring opportunities. Some of that desire was perhaps repayment for the people who have invested in my life.

Just last Saturday at an event, I ran into my friend Mike. We immediately had a connection. It started with a season of mentoring four decades ago. I can’t take credit for the godly husband, loving father and successful entrepreneur Mike has become, but I can rejoice with him.

My definition of mentoring is this: simply sharing your life with someone who is willing to walk with you according to some mutually agreed-upon terms. What do I mean by “terms”? Something as informal as “We will meet for a couple of hours each month (or quarter) and will stay in contact as needed.”

A Biblical Example

The Moses/Joshua model is enlightening in a number of ways that get to the heart of mentoring. Let’s take a look:

1. The Lord directed Moses to put certain things in writing (Ex. 17:14)—“and make sure that Joshua hears it” (NIV). That way, there would be clarity that endures, even though people and circumstances might change. Verbal promises need to be recorded. I often share a story in mentoring situations about giving up a car once because there was no record in the board minutes that it had been a gift to me.

2. Moses took his young friend along to important meetings (Ex. 24:12-13). Up on the mountain, they met with God in dramatic fashion. One of my routines is to talk with those I mentor about my own call to the ministry and how I struggled with a secular job offer while in graduate school that obviously would have led me astray. But God’s voice is to be obeyed.

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