Oh the infamous verse, Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (NKJV). Men’s ministries love to rally around this and declare loudly and proudly that they are now committed to accountability. Pastors preach and teach friendship principles from this particular verse. Don’t get me wrong, I think those are valuable ways to interpret and apply this verse, and if people are using this verse with a genuine heart, then their intentions are dignified. But let’s look at this Scripture from the viewpoint of the mentor – mentee relationship.
Have you ever wondered why God uses relationships to make us more like Jesus? I was pondering this concept the other day, often called discipleship by the Christian circles that most of us run in, and I had an idea come to mind that I have never thought of before. I believe that God uses mentors in all of our lives to keep us humble! Having God as my guide does keep me humble. I constantly see my need for divine wisdom and insight. But, having an earthly guide who is imperfect but also kind, loving, and willing to work with me through the difficulties that my personality presents is also very humbling. Taking instruction from my mentor calls for me to lay down my pride of thinking I know better and trusting that this individual has been there, done that, and has learned some valuable things about God that I need to learn myself.
Who are you being mentored by? I am young and immature and I know that I need older men in my life who balance out my drive (I am very internally Type A) and help me see that life is not all about accomplishing goals and living out your dreams. Likewise, my theology is still being formed and shaped, so I know I need men of great wisdom and practicality in my life that can help grow me with biblical counsel. Young people, please hear me when I plead with you to find credible people around you and soak up as much as you can from them. Your mentor will not be perfect, and they still have potential to let you down, but they also have tremendous ability to lift you up. Don’t ever sell their power of intercession and intervention short!
Lastly, to those of you who are “more advanced” in age, who are you mentoring? We young people desperately need your help! We want to learn and know the best way to go about leading a life that honors Christ! Most of us are very eager to be taught the Lord’s precepts.
If you are already being mentored or are actively pouring into the lives of others, wonderful! Please continue to set an example within the church of leadership, love, and involvement. God bless!
Photograph taken by Jeff Sheldon