By Todd Randolph
Most jobs require us to interact with others, working as a team to achieve stated objectives. How we approach this interaction provides us with an opportunity to demonstrate the Gospel actively working in and through our lives. This interaction also provides an opportunity to invest in the lives of others in a mentoring relationship that demonstrates how biblical manhood translates to our everyday lives.
While the word “mentoring” doesn’t appear in the Bible, Scripture does give us numerous examples of mentoring. Moses was mentored by his father-in-law Jethro, (Exodus 18). Eli prepared Samuel for the tasks and responsibilities that were his after Eli’s death (1 Samuel 1–4). Jesus mentored His disciples (Luke 9), and both Barnabas and Paul excelled in mentoring (Acts 9–15).
How does this play out in the real life of the workplace? Let me suggest two examples:
Perform Your Work Well
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31, ESV)
This says more about your integrity and character than words can express. Do you complete your job assignments, to the best of your abilities, on time without complaining about deadlines and changes in the scope of work? (Philippians 2:14-16) Do your supervisors recognize they can depend on you to complete the tasks at hand?
Do not get caught up in living out a weekend version of Christianity. People that we interact with on a daily basis are constantly evaluating whether our actions match our words. Do not give anyone an opportunity to dismiss the claims of the gospel based on your unwillingness to live out the implications of the Gospel at your job. As Charles Spurgeon stated in his sermon Believers – Lights in the World,
” Men will blame you, but you must seek as Christians to lead lives that give no occasion for blame. Like Daniel, compel them to say of you, “We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” Erasmus writes of his great adversary Luther, “Even Luther’s enemies cannot deny that he is a good man.” Brethren, force this compliment from an unwilling world. Live so that as in Tertullian’s age, men may say as they did in his time, “Such and such a man is a good man, even though he is a Christian.”
Invest In Others
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:5-6, ESV)
At some point in time we have all been the “new guy” at work. Our human nature longs for relationships. Whether someone is fresh out of college or in career transition, we all want to “fit in.” Begin by demonstrating you care for them by providing a listening ear, grabbing lunch to “just talk”, and by recognizing and acknowledging a job well done.
This is not an overnight process. Some relationships take more time to mature than others. Be patient.
When we think of biblical examples of mentoring, our minds naturally gravitate to the apostle Paul. His life provides a wonderful example of mentoring. Paul, himself a mentee of Gamaliel, poured his life into mentoring Timothy and the next generation of leaders. He told the church at Philippi, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9, ESV) In essence, he is saying, “Let me mentor you. Let me be your model.” Paul spelled out mentoring as his leadership model very simply. “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1, ESV)
We are called to be an example, to teach, and to model. If we expect others to follow our example, we must be wholeheartedly committed to following Christ. As stated earlier, any hint of hypocrisy—“do what I say, not what I do”—will be detrimental to your testimony.
How do we model biblical manhood in our mentoring relationships? How do we best demonstrate that our actions match our words? If men are going to look to us as mentors, we must live in a way worthy of imitation. To do this, as biblical men we are to:
As always, remember to be sensitive to your work environment. Approach potential opportunities with much prayer and wisdom. We are called to be “salt and light” to a dying world. (Matthew 5:16)
Todd Randolph is a church planter/pastor currently residing in Knoxville, TN. He has served churches in Kentucky and Tennessee as pastor and adult discipleship/Sunday School teacher for over 15 years. He holds a Master of Divinity in Church Planting from the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow Todd on Twitter @jtoddrandolph or visit his blog Todd Randolph.
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