Mentor was the friend to whom Ulysses entrusted his son, Telemachus, when he went off to the Trojan War. We use the term “mentor” now for any trusted advisor, especially an older person who trains and guides a younger person. The person guided by the mentor is often called a mentee or sometimes an apprentice but I think protégé is a better term.
I have benefitted from a number of mentors in my life. Most of these were on an informal basis; others were supervisors who guided my work. On a couple of occasions, I purposely sought out a person to be my mentor in a particular area of expertise. They agreed to share information, suggestions, and life experiences with me.
Benjamin Franklin is reported to have said, “There are two ways to acquire wisdom: you can either buy it or borrow it. By buying it, you pay full price in terms of time and cost to learn the lessons you need to learn. By borrowing it, you go to those men and women who have already paid the price to learn the lessons and get their wisdom from them.” I have been fortunate to have “borrowed” the experience of some gifted men and women. In so doing, I have saved myself a great deal of time and disappointment.
Who do you choose to learn from? Someone wrote, “Show me your mentors and I will show you yourself.” Those people we spend our time with have great influence on our lives, especially if they are people of experience. Therefore, we should choose our mentors carefully. We tend to become like those whose influence we value.
Who have been your mentors? Is there someone you should seek out to mentor you in a particular part of your life and ministry? Choose wisely but don’t be afraid to reach out to someone.