27 Sep The Master Mentor
The ‘mentor’ is a character in Homer’s epic The Odyssey. When Odysseus, King of Ithaca, went to fight in the Trojan War he entrusted the care of his kingdom and his son to a person named Mentor. Mentor served as the teacher and overseer of Odysseus’s son, Telemachus.
The Bible does not mention the words mentoring, mentor or mentee directly. The relationship between our Lord Jesus and His 12 disciples stands as the supreme example of mentoring. Who can be a better example of a mentor than our Master Mentor, our Lord Jesus Christ? Let us focus on a few of His attributes.
As the Master Trainer
Our Lord Jesus chose only twelve disciples and He committed to mentor, disciple, and train them. He intently and personally taught, instructed, and demonstrated to them every aspect of God’s mission. The 12 mentees had ample opportunities to learn the deep secrets of the Kingdom of God and spiritual life as most of Jesus’ teaching, preaching, speaking in parables, and miracles were done in their presence.
In Matthew 10, the Lord gives power to the Twelve to heal the sick and cast out demons, and he sent them in twos as part of practical training in the mission field. Matthew 17 narrates how nine of his disciples were unable to heal an epileptic while the Master and three other disciples were away at the mount of transfiguration. Jesus healed the child instantly. Later He evaluated the failure of the disciples and told them the secret of casting out demons was prayer and fasting. He taught them, showed them, and allowed them to try it out themselves.
He was a pragmatic coach who allowed every possible exposure to the disciples for learning.
As the Great Shepherd
The popular passages of John 10 and Psalm 23 describe the Lord as the Good and True Shepherd. Shepherd’ denotes both ‘mentor’ and ‘leader.’ The Master Mentor provided, gave rest and led His disciples with love, nurture, intimacy, and spiritual care. He corrected (the rod) and comforted (the staff) them. He was always available to give direction and guidance. He restored and renewed them (example Peter). As a mentor He was willing to sacrifice everything for His followers. Jesus spent all his time with his disciples, and they, being ignorant and unlettered, were transformed into bold spiritual leaders who turned the then-known world upside down! The impact of the mentoring of Jesus was significantly felt worldwide so much so the gospel reached all the continents in less than a generation.
As the Master Role Model
As a mentor, Jesus changed the paradigms of life and the mentees had to rewrite new definitions to conventional terms. As the Master, He set Himself as the role model among the disciples by washing their feet. ”If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you” (John13:14- 15). In John 13:34 Jesus gives a new commandment to his disciples to love one another as He has loved them. The Master modelled Himself as a servant and declared, For even the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, Mark 10:45. Therefore, He defined greatness as serving, and leader as servant, and exhorted the mentees, whosoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant, Mark 10:43.
The needs of the younger generation are many and varied. They crave for a sense of belonging and constant encouragement from their mentors. Every graduate and senior student can be a great blessing to the students as a mentor. Every believing student can stand in the gap in leading his fellow student to the light of the Gospel and to the Master Mentor. Let us assess ourselves, our position as mentors through the following checklist (just indicative):
- Am I excited to extend my friendship to a new believer?
- Do I devote time regularly to talk to my mentees on personal, professional, emotional and spiritual spheres of life?
- Do I personally help new comers to settle down in the new place/ college/university?
- Is my home/room a place for my mentees to come and share their happiness/sorrows?
- How have I been supportive during their difficult assignments/ situations?
- Do I share personal success/ failure stories and use failure stories as anchors of development?
- In what ways my life can be an influence on younsters?
Plato said, “Those who have torches will pass them on to others”
About the Author :
Nanda Dulal is a graduate based in Cochin at present.