I met my first mentor, Andrea, in a basement cafeteria on my college campus. It was over three decades ago. But in time, I came to know the significance of why and where we met. Through Andrea, God brought an experienced soul to my newly believing heart. She was on staff with a campus ministry and discipleship became our bond. Our meeting in the basement cafeteria was symbolic.
Sometimes we meet a mentor when our lives are at ground zero. We’ve hit rock bottom of a broken dream or struggle to find the first step toward a cherished goal. Hence, mentoring is an empowering relationship. Wisdom is shared and seeds of encouragement are sown into a willing and teachable soul. From a biblical perspective, the focus and desire of a mentor’s heart is “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV).
It is the privilege of joining God where He is at work in someone else’s life. He saves souls, equips His servants, issues a calling, or fulfills a dream. And yet, mentoring is a love offering of leading, caring and sharing as God leads us. The connection forms between someone who is well-skilled in an area and someone looking to grow their own skills.
We may refer to a mentor as coach, advisor, teacher, or friend. But as skilled as they are, it’s likely they won’t have all the answers. However, a mentor is willing to support us on our journey to finding the answers we need the most.
In college, I was slow to grasp the importance of my commitment to Christ. But Andrea was patient. Sharing my faith with others made me uneasy. She was reassuring. And when I faced life’s storms, she listened and supplied me with scriptural truths to anchor me. Sadly, Andrea and I lost contact over the years. But the lessons of our interaction stayed with me.
I needed her example, as I mentored military wives through their husband’s first deployment.
When a writer’s group formed in my church, I needed to give reassurance to writers taking their first steps.
God uses the scars from my battle with infertility to encourage another woman in her own struggle.
Mentoring allows us to share our resources and expertise. But our greatest contribution to someone’s life may be showing them how we’ve learned to trust in God. He faithfully connects us with kindred souls who graciously pour out their lives to enrich ours. As we receive such blessings, may it inspire us to impart His grace to someone else.
The writer of Proverbs puts it this way: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17 NIV).
This verse informs us that mentoring can be mutually beneficial. I’ve gained countless insights as a mentee sharpens me with their fresh perspective. Their zeal for a certain passion often rejuvenates a passion I’d forgotten or neglected.
Through the years, God continues to shape my mentoring heart. I remain a work in progress growing in His grace and truth. I’m grateful for those who lovingly lead me on that journey and for those who follow me as I follow Christ.
About the Author:
Joy A. Williams is a writer and speaker who is amazed her first name became her life’s mission. She is passionate about sharing God’s grace and His ability to deposit joy into even the most desolate soul. A licensed minister with a teaching heart, Joy serves on the women’s ministry leadership team at her church. On her blog, she encourages sincere and sidetracked truth seekers with hope for the heart and joy to the soul. She enjoys living life with her husband Brady and their teenage son. You can connect with her at joyawilliams.com and receive a free PDF of “5 Ways to Keep Your Joy (or Find It) Whatever Happens.”
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