As a Christian, it is not hard to fall into the trap of believing that the only important thing is serving other people.
We see Jesus’ example of constantly serving people, remembering that He “came not to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45) and think that’s how we should be.
But when we get too stuck in that mindset, we forget Jesus’ reliance on His Father.
Jesus constantly created opportunities for Himself to spend time with His Father so that He could remain grounded in His identity as The Son of God and serve His Father well. It is no different for us as believers.
Lies Satan feeds us
I was terrible about allowing others to serve through mentorship during college especially. I always assumed that professors would be too busy to talk to me.
I foolishly assumed that I was OK, and was far better at looking for opportunities to serve other people. The problem with this perspective was that it led to Satan fostering two contrasting lies within my own heart.
First, I began to elevate myself and think that I legitimately didn’t need the wisdom and mentorship of a more mature Christian to guide me. At the same time though, rooted in my heart was this belief that I didn’t think I was worthy of being supported.
Struggles without mentors
Directly after college, my wife and I moved to the Dominican Republic to become missionary teachers. It was through this experience that I realized my desperate need for an older mentor to invest in me.
Despite a love for the Dominican culture, people, and my students, those years were incredibly lonely and frustrating ones for me.
Having just left a very safe, strong Christian environment, we had a difficult time adjusting to the school. We watched as many decisions were made and lives lived out in a way that we didn’t believe were very Christlike.
A big reason I floundered was that I didn’t have someone other than my wife to speak truth into my life. I couldn’t talk through my struggles and seek advice on how to handle a situation with someone who had experience.
Bible’s appeal to mentorship
The entire book of Proverbs is centered around the importance of wisdom and listening to what it has to say about life. It preaches the importance to respect and consider the advice of those who are experienced in life.
Here’s some of what it has to offer:
Proverbs 12:15 — The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
Proverbs 19:27 — Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
Proverbs 11:14 — Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
Proverbs 19:20 — Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.
Proverbs isn’t the only book that directs followers of Christ to listen to the experienced though. The practice of submitting to mentorship is prevalent throughout the Bible.
Moses mentored Joshua to lead the nation of Israel into the promised land. Paul wrote letters to Timothy to mentor and build confidence in him.
There is a lot of wisdom in seeking out others who have experienced our current struggles. The Father sent Christ not only to die for our sins, but to be an example of how to live.
The Holy Spirit lives within us to counsel and guide us in daily life.
So remember, life as disciples of Christ isn’t just about serving others.
It is good for us to allow mentors we trust and proven wise to guide us and serve us as well.
Nicholas Clark is Pastor of First Baptist Church.
This weekly column is provided to the News Journal on a monthly rotation basis by members of the Wilmington Area Ministerial Association.