Attaining Mentor Status
Within our Wisdom Note, we want to consider the three character traits required to create a living legacy. In order to create a legacy, we must be able to lead or mentor others. In order to lead and mentor others, we need to traverse certain trails, or you might say, put into practice certain habits that will allow us to attain the status of a leader and mentor. I will be so brash today as to say that we cannot positively lead or mentor others unless we hike these three trails on a regular basis.
The model for our Wisdom Note today shows us the three trails that we will travel and are learned from a Hebrew priest Ezra who was taken into exile in Babylon by King Artaxerxes. Ezra was allowed to return to Jerusalem to assess the city’s condition. In Chapter 7 verses 8 through 10, “Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in August of that year. He had arranged to leave Babylon on April 8, the first day of the New Year, and he arrived in Jerusalem on August 4, for the gracious hand of his God was on him. This was because Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the Lord and to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel.”
Verse 10 gives us the pattern to follow in order to become leaders and mentors.
1. Learn it.
Our first trail that we will explore is the “Learn It” trail. Before you can ever hope to lead or mentor others you must first learn the practical lessons of life and grow in wisdom yourself. You need to foster the spirit of continual learning within yourself. With the resources that are available using today’s technology, there is no excuse for remaining unlearned or ignorant in any area of life. In fact, as rapidly as the world is changing, if you are not continually learning, then you will quickly lose your skills and, therefore, your value in many areas of life.
“The most important skill to acquire is learning how to learn.”
Be a lifelong student. Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. “The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young,” Henry Ford.
The more you learn, the more you earn, and the more self-confidence you will have. Learning does take self-discipline. In fact Proverbs 12:1 says, “To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.” And Proverbs 18:15 puts it this way, “Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge.” As we look back at Ezra 7:10, we see that “Ezra had determined to study.”
2. Live it.
The second trail that we explore is the “Live It” trail. You need to apply what you have learned to your life and live it each day. It needs to become part of the very fabric of your life. What actually generates tangible results in your life is to regularly and consistently apply what you have learned. The whole point of absorbing new information is so that you can apply it in everyday life.
Leadership or mentorship is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions. You have to live what you have learned each day. Yes, you need to learn from others who are wise, but you will also need to display wisdom. Practicing what you have learned is not a one-time occurrence, but it becomes a habit in your life. It becomes who you are. This results in a life of integrity.
“Learning the golden rule is of no value until you practice it.”
The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians stated it in this manner in Chapter 4 verse 9, “Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
We see that “Ezra put into practice what he studied: and obey the Law of the Lord.”
3. Loan it.
The third trail to explore is the “Loan It” trail. Once you have taken the time to learn how to be a good leader and mentor and have shown with your life that you practice what you have learned, it is a crime to your world if you do not loan that wisdom to others by leading and mentoring them.
It is your obligation and responsibility to help others. I call this loaning to others because you always retain what you have learned and practiced, even when you share it with others. It is the multiplier effect. It is an abundance mentality. The more you learn and share with others, the more it multiplies.
Whatever your field of endeavor, mentoring is an important part of what you do. In fact, I would say it is a requirement.
A large part of mentoring requires that you awaken in others their sleeping talents and abilities. It is difficult to actually teach others; it is more about giving to them the ability to think and learn on their own. If you teach people how to think, you will prepare them to deal with life with greater capability than teaching them what to think.
As mentioned in Proverbs 1:2-4, as a leader and mentor our primary objective should be to, “teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise…to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair…this will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young.”
Now, this is true mentoring. “As a mentor, real satisfaction comes when you inspire others to be the best that they can be.” Ezra did the same “to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel.”
As your guide, friend, mentor, and fellow sojourner, let me know how I can help you become a better leader and mentor to your tribe.