What to Look for in a Spiritual Mentor
- Thursday, August 11, 2011
Earlier this year, I signed up for some continuing education courses. As a component of my training, I will take part in a mentorship program where I will experience a couple of days in the life of my mentor to see what he does, how he approaches his work and the decision process he goes through.
While I am learning so much by reading, studying, practicing and watching webinars, some of the most important education I’ll probably receive will come as a result of understanding my mentor’s day to day activities and how he faces success and adversity.
My impending educational mentorship got me thinking about our continual need for a spiritual mentor in our lives. Have you ever thought or considered who you would want to learn from and shadow if you had the choice of someone from the Bible?
Naturally, the most sought after mentor would probably be Jesus himself and he would more than likely have a sizable waiting list. Aside from him, who would you consider to be your next choice?
I would guess Jonah, Moses and Paul would have some space available for those interested in marine biology, wilderness training, or criminal justice. Adam, Cain and the prodigal son may be a possibility for those desiring a “freer” environment and lifestyle, an anger-management candidate or a self-indulgent personality. Even Peter would be inspiring if you could stay up with and handle his zeal.
After a recent devotional, my top choice for a spiritual mentor would be King Solomon. Besides the lifestyle I would have to “put up with” in his lap of luxury, what he showed me with one statement convinced me he would be a man I could learn a lot from.
In 1 Kings 3:5, the Lord appeared to Solomon and asked him what many of us would love for the Lord to ask us directly, “What would you like me to give you?” Granted, at this point in time Solomon had just inherited the kingdom of Israel from his father David, including all of the riches that go along with being King; however, instead of asking for more stuff, a long life to enjoy his success or revenge against his enemies, Solomon answered, “Give me the wisdom I need to rule your people with justice and to know the difference between good and evil. Otherwise, how would I ever be able to rule this great people of yours?" (1 Kings 3:9-10).
Humbly and unselfishly, Solomon only asked for the tools with which to better serve God’s people.
Who would have asked for that in Solomon’s position? How many of us ask for that today amidst all we are going through and struggling with?
Do we appeal for wisdom to know how to best serve and minister to our spouse or family in the way they need or how to change us to live more Christ-like to others or do we ask the Lord to change our spouse, our family or our relational status to better suit ourselves?
Do we pray for wisdom to better understand how to make ends meet, to better steward what we were given or to use what we have to help others or do we beg for help financially by providing a well-paying job, more resources or a winning lottery ticket?
Do we request wisdom to best utilize our time, talent and resources for God’s purpose or do we just want things for our own enjoyment and pleasure?
Wisdom means to know what is best and right in a specific situation with the clear understanding and discernment of how to use that knowledge. Not that asking for a job, a relationship or anything else is wrong or not “wise;” however, we should be posing to ourselves “With what heart and reason are we asking these things?”
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