The Power of Mentorship
Have you ever felt that you needed someone in your corner? Someone to support you through the good times and the not so good times? Have you ever wished for the listening ear of a powerful female mentor who would speak truth and grace into your life?
We all need someone in our lives to walk alongside us for encouragement and support. Someone to hold us accountable and push us to be the women God has called us to be.
You see, no woman is meant to be an island, rather we are all in need of community, fellowship, and sistering. We can all benefit from the spiritual guidance of those female mentors who step into our lives and walk with us through our many struggles and joys.
Today, I’d like to share with you three examples of powerful mentorships found in the Bible. We’ll learn about the impact of mentoring from Ruth and Naomi, Mordecai and Esther, and Deborah and Barak.
Ruth and Naomi
First, let’s delve into the story of Ruth and Naomi, which is found in the Old Testament book of Ruth. I’ve written about these two women in previous posts focusing on the mentoring exchange between them. Naomi was a spiritual mother to Ruth. This mentorship serves as a beautiful example of a mutualistic relationship.
Last week, I wrote about the importance of spiritual mothers and the writing of Titus 2, where Paul encourages older women to teach younger women. That is exactly the type of mentoring relationship we find in the story of Ruth and Naomi. Naomi served as a spiritual mother to her daughter-in-law Ruth. In the first chapter of Ruth, we find that their relationship had already been fruitful for Ruth. Her response to Naomi’s suggestion that she return to her family was: “do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16, ESV).
Once the two women arrived in Judah, Ruth discovered opportunities to collect food from the fields. Naomi offered guidance as to where her daughter-in-law could safely glean. Ruth obeyed her.
Ruth found herself gleaning in the fields of Boaz, a kind and generous man, who she later found out from Naomi was their kinsman-redeemer. Naomi instructed Ruth on how to approach Boaz to allow him to the opportunity to redeem her. Under Naomi’s mentoring, Ruth was taken in as a wife to Boaz, which also ensured the care of Naomi.
The relationship between Ruth and Naomi was built on trust, sacrificial love, and a desire to care for each other. The effect of it was felt by both women. Through Ruth’s love for Naomi and Naomi’s desire to make sure Ruth was cared for, both women received the benefits of redemption by their kinsman and became members of the line of King David, and ultimately Jesus.
Mordecai and Esther
Another influential mentoring relationship to consider is that between Mordecai and his young orphaned cousin, Esther. Mordecai, a Hebrew living in Persia after most of the exiles had returned to Israel, took on the responsibility of raising Esther, treating her as his own daughter.
When an edict from King Ahasuerus was announced that the king was looking for a new queen, young women from around the kingdom were gathered for the king to select his new queen. Esther was brought along with all the young women to the palace.
Esther was later chosen as the new queen, and under the insistence of Mordecai, did not reveal that she was of Jewish descent. Later, the king’s right-hand man, Haman, developed a hatred toward Mordecai and his people and convinced the king to kill them. Mordecai, upon hearing of the plans, encouraged Esther to go before the king, even though she had not been invited, and plea for her people’s lives.
Esther was initially hesitant, knowing that her own life would be at risk for approaching the king without being summoned. But Mordecai encouraged her, telling Esther that she should not think that her being in the palace would prevent her destruction and that perhaps, she had been given the position she had “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14b, ESV).
Moved to action by Mordecai’s urging, Esther mustered her courage and chose to go before the king. The king graciously found favor in her presence and heard her case against Haman. As a result, Esther saved her people from destruction.
Due to Mordecai’s commitment to his family, he chose to raise Esther, and through his support and spiritual guidance, Esther was in the right position to intercede for God’s people. Through this mentoring relationship, Esther had been prepared for this moment honoring God and serving her people.
The story of Esther and Mordecai demonstrates the power of mentorships and the impact a mentoring relationship can have on the mentee. Esther’s trust in Mordecai, her willingness to serve, and her obedience to God’s call on her life led to saving an entire people group.
Deborah and Barak
The third powerful mentoring relationship from the Bible is that between Deborah and Barak.
Deborah’s story is found in Judges 4-5. She was a judge and prophetess in the early days of Israel. Her position was unique because she was both a spiritual leader and a political leader.
At the time of Deborah’s judgeship, the Canaanites were ruling over Israel and oppressing them. And though this was happening as a result of Israel’s disobedience to God and subsequent consequences, it was time for them to be freed from the oppressive actions of Canaan.
Barak, leader of the Israelite army, held Deborah’s counsel in high esteem. She was a judge, military advisor, and spiritual guide. Through Deborah’s encouragement, Barak was open to God’s call but stated unless Deborah went with him, he would not go into battle. Although Barak respected Deborah’s wisdom he lacked confidence and insisted she accompany him in the battle against the Canaanites and their commander, Sisera.
Deborah, a woman of God, was chosen by God to serve His people at an incredibly challenging time. Deborah showed her belief in God and her strength came from God as she quietly and obediently stepped into her role. Deborah’s courage and obedience saved a nation.
Though Barak did not defeat Sisera himself, their story shows the power of mentorship in the pursuit of justice.
In the defeat of the Canaanites and Sisera, Deborah gave the victory to God. Deborah and Barak sang a song of thanksgiving to God and the followers for delivering them from the enemy. And, they had peace for forty years due to their belief and obedience to God.
The Power of Mentoring
From the spiritual mothering between Ruth and Naomi to the biblical mentorship illustrated in the stories of Esther and Mordecai and Deborah and Barak, each of these accounts exemplify the power of mentoring.
My friend, I hope you recognize the significance of the spiritual mentors placed in our lives by God to assist us. Mentors encourage, support, equip, and empower us through God’s Word. As shared earlier this month, there will always be someone with more experience, different perspectives, and more knowledge than us. These spiritual mentors have so much to offer if we will only open our hearts and minds to their guidance.
Proverbs 1:5 (CEV) says, “If you are already wise, you will become even wiser. And if you are smart, you will learn to understand.”
I’m not sure about you but I know that I desire to be wiser and I don’t want to continue on my journey alone.
God created us for community. I want my spiritual mothers to guide me, care for me, and pray over me as I journey through life. And, I pray to heed their advice and be obedient to God’s Word. I truly want to let go and let God do His work through me.
What about you? Have you experienced the power of mentorship as a mentor or mentee? If so, how has this relationship influenced your life for the better? If not, I highly encourage you to seek out a Godly woman to mentor you. A spiritual mentor to encourage you as you move forward in your walk with God. Someone to be there as you navigate your personal and professional goals. And if you are in a position to serve as a mentor, ask God to show you who to serve.
As we share about the importance of mentoring and community, I encourage you to share your stories of the power of mentorship in your life in our Reflecting Life Community this week. Our community is an online learning exchange for spiritual mentoring and guidance. We’d love to hear how spiritual mentoring has made an impact on your life.
If you have any questions about what it means to be a mentor or how to find a mentor, please reach out. As always, I would love to help you discover the joy of mentorship.
Keep on shining!