Finding Your Mentor/Apprentice
Last week we identified two types of people found throughout the Bible: The Mentor and the Apprentice. We challenged our readers to pray for God to guide them to which role they should take on, who they should teach/learn from, and what they should teach/learn. Those answers may still be awaiting answer for some*, but we press on today to show how we reach out to our mentor/aprentice.
Elijah and Elisha
We briefly talked about the relationship of Elijah and Elisha in our first Hunger and Thirst Devotion. These two men showed a passion for the things of God leading up to their initial encounter. Elijah had talked with God about Elisha before he met him and Elisha was living a steadfast and upright life. They were both in the right place to give and receive what God wanted.
The Mentor Makes His Presence Known
Elijah didn't approach Elisha with a lot of pomp and circumstance. He didn't list out all of his accomplishments. Elijah simply walked by Elisha and threw his mantle on him. That action was much larger than any parade or oration, though. The mantle of a prophet was specifically designed for prophets and would have been easily recognized by a regular person. For a prophet to place his mantle on a person meant that he was offering that person the opportunity to follow and learn from him. Most important, though, Elijah was putting an emphasis on his calling and God rather than himself.
For those who are looking to mentor someone, this Elijah approach is essential if we want to be successful in imparting knowledge to others. It has to be about God and His Kingdom and not us and our achievements. In the end, all that we do is because of Him anyways.
The Apprentice Commits and Submits
Meanwhile, Elisha didn't hesitate when he knew what was being offered. He asked to put his affairs quickly in order and then he left it all to follow Elisha. It doesn't say that he just sat in awe of Elijah, though. He didn't just become like a student in a classroom waiting to soak up the lessons of the prophet. He ministered to Elijah. This is to say that Elisha served Elijah. He learned by waiting on his mentor and assisting him in what he did and needed.
For those seeking a mentor, we must be ready to sacrifice some things when the opportunity arises for us to follow. These sacrifices could be as small as hobbies and free time or they could be as major as career paths and where we live. It depends on the calling God has for us and what that calling requires. That is why we must be ready for anything.
The apprentice must also be willing to serve the mentor. This might mean contacting the participants of a Bible Study or preparing prayer cloths to be anointed. No matter what the task or how small or difficult it might seem, we must be willing to provide the assistance needed. When we do, we'll be learning far more than from how-to books or seminars. We'll be in the thick of ministry and learning in a hands-on environment.
Finally, It's all about Communication
God told Elijah he was going to mentor Elisha
Elijah presented Elisha with an opportunity to follow him
Elisha committed to follow Elijah and began to serve him immediately
If we are to have truly successful mentor/apprentice relationships, we must follow this plan of action. If we do, both parties will benefit tremendously. The mentor will be able to impart his/her knowledge and receive assistance in continuing their ministry. The apprentice will be able to receive insight into how their ministry works both from learning and through serving. In the end, this relationship will work to serve and uplift the Lord and His will.
Depending on which season you are in, try these steps out in your first encounter with your mentor/apprentice:
See how doing these little things will help you and your mentor/apprentice get off on the right foot in serving God together. We would love to know what you think about this topic. Is there something else you think should happen in that first encounter between mentor and apprentice? Let us know in the comments below.
*If you haven't received answers about the first week's service, don't fret. God will lead you to those answers in His time. Just continue to pray for His will and direction and you will eventually find where you need to be in those three prayers. These other posts will always be here for you.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.