My Mentoring in the Marketplace post, prompted several online comments which caused me to first address the questions and expectations that mentors should have of mentees. Today, we are talking about what mentors get out of mentoring. I have already shared that the purpose of mentoring is not to control or manipulate others.
Mentoring should be a mutually beneficial relationship. Sometimes when we think about entering a mentoring relationship, we only consider, “What is this relationship going to require of me? How much do I have to give?” However, we see through many biblical examples that mentoring relationships can and should be mutually beneficial. Naomi was blessed and regained security in her society as a result of her mentoring relationship with Ruth. Timothy was a great encouragement to Paul. Therefore, we should not approach our mentoring relationships from a one-sided perspective of “How can I help?” We should approach mentoring relationships with a self-awareness of what we have to offer, and with the openness of what we can learn from a mentee. Understanding this blessing in our own lives, makes us aware of what we lose when we fail to mentor others.
Thinking about what we get out of mentoring also requires that we answer the question of motivation. What motivates us to mentor others? I was reading Philippians this morning where Paul wrote:
It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice (Phil 1:15-18a).
Paul acknowledges in this passage that people have different motivations even for preaching the gospel. Though some of the motivations are not pure or true, it is important that the gospel of Christ is preached. Some people may enter mentoring relationships because of what they can get out of it—mentoring may affirm them, make them feel good about themselves. I’m sure there is at least a little of that in each of us. However, our primary motivation for mentoring should not be selfish ambition or self-gratification. Mentoring is a means through which we influence others and share the gospel of Christ. Mentoring is an act of love and obedience.
Christ left us with the commandment to make disciples. Mentoring with a Christian worldview gives us the ability to engage, equip, and multiply disciples of Christ who create, reconcile, and change the world.
What do you get out of mentoring? What motivates you in this important work?
Blessings, © Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2013