Daily Devotion, 6-11-2020 - A Model for Mentorship

Pastor: Connie Belmore

'Devotion, June 11, 2020
Reading:
1 Timothy 4:6-16
A Model for Mentorship

As a young adult, I had a wonderful Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Ethel Whaley. Mrs. Whaley and her husband had been missionaries in Alaska and when they retired from the mission field they came to my church to work and serve there. She was a fiery little lady (in a good way) who became a mentor for me during my first few years as a young adult. She was joined by another wonderful mentor, Mrs. Marie Horton. These ladies taught the young adult Sunday School class at my childhood church when they were well into their 70s. Who would have thought they could relate to people 50 years their junior? But these sweet ladies taught us from God's Word and loved us unconditionally, encouraging us to stay true to our faith at an age when many people leave the church and walk away from their faith.

In today’s passage, Paul, who is a mentor for young Timothy, illustrates for us two important aspects of spiritual mentorship: (1) the guidelines for a daily spiritual “work-out”, and (2) the model for encouraging others (aka mentorship). A spiritual work out is more important than a physical workout and therefore, deserves more time, although both are important for ministry. Paul’s suggestions for this workout begin with a call for godliness. He suggests godliness comes to us when we stick to searching for answers in Scripture, rather than secular sources, to learn and grow in our faith.  We also read the Scripture, quiety and out loud, to teach and preach it to others. He encourages Timothy to not let people look down on him because of his age but to demonstrate to others with his speech, conduct, love, faith and purity. Paul gives Timothy a training plan for his workout to ensure he is reading, preaching, teaching and using the gifts God has given him. He concludes his daily work out plan by encouraging Timothy to allow others to see the way he lives his life and to therefore, ensure it is consistent with Christian doctrine. This workout is to be carried out by placing hope in the living God who is Savior of all people, especially for those who believe. This overarching comment is a reminder that Timothy is serving both believers and those who have not yet come to believe.

This great workout model was successful because of Paul’s approach to mentorship. He began with encouragement followed by laying out expectations that Timothy could establish for himself and others and helping Timothy develop skills, maturity and experience to accomplish those expectations. Paul continued to help Timothy monitor these expectations and when necessary brought clarity to any concerns or questions. Finally, Paul not only began his two letters to Timothy with encouragement, but also ended them with words of encouragement.

Paul saw great potential in Timothy and mentored him so that he could become a minister at the church of Ephesus. He went the extra mile to increase the confidence of this young person so that he might use his God-given gifts to share the good news of Christ with others. I was fortunate to have Mrs. Whaley and Mrs. Horton as mentors who encouraged me as a young adult, as Paul did for Timothy. If you are a young adult, do you have a Spiritual mentor? Is there someone you go to for Spiritual advice? If you are a more mature Christian, have you taken anyone under your wing to encourage them and help them grow in their faith? If not, pray with me that God will open up mentoring opportunities for all of us as we continuously grow and lead in our faith.

Dear God, thank you for teachers and mentors like Mrs. Whaley, Mrs. Horton and Paul who have mentored new Christians and young adults. Thank you for the encouragement they offered others during their time on earth. Help us to constantly seek out mentors. No matter what age we are or how long we have been a Christian, help us to see our need to constantly learn and grow. Help us to also seek out those who may need encouragement and mentoring and to use Paul’s approach to motivate and inspire others as we journey alongside them. We give this to you in the name of the greatest mentor you ever sent to earth, your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

 
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