A key aspect of leadership that I have mentioned is needing to learn to follow before we can lead well. Over time the concept of mentoring has enjoyed varying degrees of popularity, yet whether popular or not, it is a good biblical and historical concept.
Mentors may mentor us directly or by example. So excluding Jesus, who has inspired or mentored you? They needn’t be famous people. One of the people who deeply impacted me was a farmer and truck driver named Rene. My first winter out of high school I worked for a trucking company out of Grande Prairie, Alberta moving oil rigs. Rene farmed by summer and drove truck in the winter. He was a great mentor to me just by being himself.
Rene and I never set up any type of mentoring relationship. He freely shared his wisdom with me and at first I regularly disagreed with much of it. A key technique he used to teach me was giving me the freedom to fail. At 18/19 I clearly knew everything and had great ideas on how to do things! Rene would let me try my ‘good ideas,’ which were mostly wrong. Once my way had failed I was open to letting him teach me how to do something correctly. He taught me many practical things when it came to dismantling, moving and setting up a drilling platform and rig. However, those weren’t the important things I learned. I learned how to fail and listen, how to push myself to do things I didn’t think I could do, at times accompanied by profanity, from me; and how to submit to someone older and wiser.
While Rene and I never did agree on which radio station to listen to, we developed a supportive working relationship and friendship and I learned a lot more than Rene. One of his pearls of wisdom was, “If you ever get to thinking too much of yourself stick your finger in a bucket of water and pull it out and see how much of a hole you leave.” I have repeated that one often.
So how does this fit with scripture if this is to be “Wisdom from the Word?” If we think of the bucket example Paul said;
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. Romans 12:3 (NKJV)
In my frequent failing prior to listening scripture says we are to submit and clothe ourselves with humility, good advice from the Holy Spirit;
21 submitting to one another in the fear of God. Ephesians 5:21 (NKJV) 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; Colossians 3:12 (NKJV)
There many more scriptures I could provide. However the questions I want to leave us with are;
- Who are we learning from?
- Are we willing to follow?