The case could be made that the ministries of some of the greatest men in the Bible, pinnacled as they anointed and mentored their successors. Moses had a great run standing up to Pharaoh, but it was his mentoring of Joshua that would fill more pages of his story than anything else. Elijah spent his days in the middle of a crumbling kingdom, trying to re-align their moral compass and pushing himself to the brink, but his ministry climaxed as he found Elisha to pour into. Try to read through 1 & 2 Timothy without noticing the instruction, the guidance, and the direction that Paul was trying to impart to his protégé Timothy.
When studying the lives of these people it is best to put them in juxtaposition with one another, which led me to this study. Many have sat down an attempted to write a character sketch of Paul or of Moses. I too studied their lives in an effort to understand them. Every study I undertook ultimately left me disappointed. Paul and Moses had an impact that lasted well beyond their day. Without even taking an account of the quarter of the Bible being written by their hands, it was the way they influenced the people around them that had a great impact on the future of Israel and the Church respectively. What did Moses and Paul do in mentoring the next group of leaders? What methods and actions did they undertake?
Moses and Paul didn’t just expect mentoring to happen. Moses was told by God to appoint Joshua as his successor (Numbers 27.18) and Paul called Timothy his ‘dear son’ (2 Timothy 2.2). These relationships didn’t appear “organically” as some in churches have expected. Organically is often a word used in place of “unplanned”, “unintended”, and “accidental”. Timothy and Joshua were certain of their roles and their relationships with their leaders. Pastors need to become more intentional with raising up leaders to succeed them. In Judges 2 a startling picture is shown when “another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.” The previous generation/the older generation, the one who had seen the walls of Jericho fall, the Jordan River parted, the manna and the quail daily, the fire at night and the cloud by day leading them, departed, gathered to the fathers, died. The next generation wasn’t prepared by that generation.
It is vital for the survival of Biblical manhood for us to be future thinkers. We need to be daily asking the question: Who’s next? The purpose of the next few Monday’s is to help us avoid the issue that plagued Israel so long ago and answering the needs of young men: Providing Leadership for the Next Generation. Failure to do so will materialize for us the way it did for Israel in Judges. “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.” (Judges 2.10) After an entire generation, ones that had seen the Jordan dry up before them, the walls of Jericho fall, the sun standing still, the manna and quail daily, the pillar of cloud and fire, had passed away…the knowledge of the works of the Lord was not passed on to the next generation. For the next few weeks, on Mentoring Monday, by leaning on the lives of Moses and Paul (and by proxy their mentees Joshua and Timothy), I want to provide a framework for mentoring from the Biblical text.