“WISDOM OF LIVING (61) MENTORS”                 By Pastor YAU

Text: Exodus 18:13-24                                                 April 6, 2008.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   A modern day mentor: In 1959, when Lee Kuan Yew assumed the position of Prime Minister of Singapore, his leadership began a long process of national transformation. Initially disagreements between ethnic groups and a weak economic base made the future of the island nation uncertain. Thirty years later when Lee stepped down from his position in 1990, Singapore had become a model nation for ethnic harmony and thriving economy. After serving as Senior Minister from 1990 to 2003, Lee became Minister Mentor in 2004. Since then, Lee has been an invaluable mentor to the cabinet of Singapore and to other leaders around the world.

2)   An ancient time mentor: When Jethro, a Median priest and father-in-law of Moses, brought to Moses his wife and two sons, he was aware of the burden Moses had in solving the disputes and conflict of the people numbered in millions. Moses sat in front of his tent and listened to matters big and small all day long. Many had to stand in line from early morning to late at night just to get their cases heard and judged. Seeing the burdens both Moses and his people had, wise man Jethro gave Moses suggestions to do his job better, faster and more effective. Even though God had given him power to perform miracles, Moses listened to his mentor, followed his advice to benefit his administrative work as a leader.

 

FACETS OF MENTORING:

1)      A God ordained method: Throughout the Bible, God has used mentors to carry out His commands, perfected His plans, built up His work and strengthened His people. Besides mentors in the family, such as parents to their children, God has used mentors many times to further His Kingdom. Examples like Moses to Joshua, Elijah to Elisha, Jesus to His disciples, Barnabas to Paul and later to John Mark, Paul to Timothy, Silas, Luke and others. Mentoring is an effective way in God’s work.

2)      An effective way of learning: Before schools become popular and teachers have to teach dozens or hundreds of students at one time, teaching and learning were done mostly by mentoring: a mentor to a few students. Nowadays, expensive private schools and elite colleges have gone back to small classes or groups very much like the mentor system. The ratio of teacher to students is an important aspect when choosing schools or colleges by parents and students: the smaller the better.

3)      An urgent need for mentors: While we all respect teachers, there are better teachers in every teaching institution. Those who will go extra miles, lend extra helping hands, pay more personal attention to specific needs of specific student are important to the learning and growing of students. The failure of the present school system may have much to do with massive classes and impersonal/dutiful teachers. Every school is scrambling for mentor type of teachers to improve the reputation of their school and learning results of their students. Mentors are needed not just in schools and colleges they are needed in working places, government agencies, community organizations and Christian churches.

4)      A need of attitude change: Since mentors are people who have lived longer to acquire more knowledge, experience of success and failure, wisdom of discernment and skills of doing things more effective for better results, they usually are older in age. In today’s society, older people who are capable of being mentors do not receive attention and respect they deserve to function as mentors to benefit the younger generation. King Solomon, in his Proverbs, has much to say about respecting mentor type of people beginning from fathers and mothers. The younger generation in America today, beginning from our own children, is so naive to believe that they know it all. We need to change our attitude and be humble to respect mentors so we don’t have to repeat many mistakes nor waste so much time to do things right.

 

HOW TO BE MENTORS? (Exodus 18:13-24)

1)   You need to have love: Because Jethro was a priest and father-in-law of Moses we assumed he has deep love for his son-in-law Moses and we may be right. He loved Moses and his family so much that he brought the wife and 2 sons of Moses back to him in the wilderness. (Exodus 18:1-5)This is an act of love and concern, love and concern for the benefit of Moses. No one can be a good mentor without love and concern for those he will mentor. You need to love them, wanting to see them become their best and care for their needs, burdens and well being to be good mentor to them.

2)   You need to have good relationship: Before Jethro became part of the community, Moses showed his respect and gratitude to him by bowing to him (18:7), told him all the events on the journey of the exodus (18:8) and set tables for him to dine with leaders of the people. On the other hand, Jethro showed his joy and appreciation of what Moses and his people had done, he prayed and praised to God for His mercy and power. He also offered sacrifices on behalf of the people as a priest would do. Jethro did not just jump in to tell anyone what he thought they should do. He built a very cordial relationship with Moses and his people before he said anything.

3)   You need to know your beneficiary: Before Jethro made any move to suggest steps to Moses, he spent whole day, or many days, to observe how Moses did his job as a judge for millions of people. Remember Jethro was an old man and it was in the wilderness. To stand whole day, observing how Moses did his job, how people pled their cases and how Moses judged each case was never an easy job. Jethro was willing to spend enough time to know the problem, the needs then he could come up with solutions. Today, many people love to tell others what to do without spend enough time and care to know what others really need. No wonder their suggestions are often not well received or ineffective.

4)   You need to know what and how: Mentors must be good in what they teach, share, do and say. Although we have little knowledge on how did Jethro do his job as a priest in Median, from what he suggested to Moses we can pretty safe to say that he has what it takes to be a good mentor to Moses:: he suggested a plan that was necessary, effective, detailed enough and attractive to all leaders in Moses’ situation. He was wise to point out the weakness of Moses’ way of doing his job. He was sympathetic both to Moses and the people. He brought God into his suggestion and he made detailed recommendation for effective administration. He did not just tell Moses to delegate his job. He told Moses how to choose and what kind of people he need to choose to help do his job. Jethro had a full plan for the success of Moses.

 

HOW TO BE MENTORED? (18:13-24)

1)   You need to respect the mentor: Respect toward the mentor is the basic attitude you need to have to be effective in being mentored. Respect the person, his experience, knowledge and character. Respect the fact that he takes time and effort to teach you. Respect helps you to learn, to listen and to follow whatever the mentor may teach you, show you. No respect, no effective mentoring. Moses respected Jethro. He bowed before him.

2)   You need to trust the mentor: Let him know you: the good, the bad and everything else in between. You need to trust your mentor to show him all about you so he can know you better, understand you more to give you what you really need to know, to do. Moses told Jethro everything of his journey. He had nothing to hide from Jethro. He allowed Jethro to sit by him when he carried out his job. Without knowing you and your true needs, there is no way anyone may mentor you effectively.

3)   You need to be humble: From Exodus 12:37, the beginning of the exodus to here, chapter 18, Israelis had traveled many miles thru many cities and lands and Moses had performed many miracles in leading the over 2,000,000 people out of the land of oppression on the way to freedom. Moses has been recognized the top leader, the only leader the people had ever known. Now here came an old man who had never traveled with them for one day in the wilderness, didn’t know the people, hadn’t seen any of the miracles Moses had performed, no experience with the situation, and here he came and told Moses what to do. If you were Moses, will you be humble enough to listen? Pride is the worse enemy to effective mentoring.

4)   You need to follow through: Listening to suggestion is one thing. To follow through suggestion is quite another. Many people may say they agree with good advice and suggestion but they are either unimpressed or being lazy or just procrastinating, they never follow through the good advice and never get the benefits of it. But Moses is not that kind of man. “Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said.” (18:24)He listened and followed Jethro’s suggestion to the words. He did not cut corners or water down or inject his own ideas into it.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)     Do you need a mentor? Is your life getting no where? Problems mounted? You don’t really know where you are going and what you need to do? You need a mentor for sure. Be humble to seek a mentor to help you get your life back on track and going. Life is too short just to sit and wait around for no future.

2)     Can you be a mentor? Do you see someone is struggling with life? Someone is sinking with problems? Do you care enough to lend a hand to help him? Try to show your love, care and build a friendship so you may be a mentor to that person. God put you in the path of that person for a purpose. Don’t brush it aside.

3)     The best mentor ever: That is God in the Lord Jesus. No one is wiser, more loving and capable of helping you to get your life back on track for a better tomorrow. Open your heart to Jesus, ask him to enter your life and be your mentor every step of your life. He will never fail you nor fore shake you. He is always faithful to lead your way.