Better Together: Encouraged to be Courageous
This week we explore the value of mentoring, and how intentional, regular encouragement in our lives can help us reach our God-given potential.
Mentoring is an intentional relationship in which experience and values are shared, learned and passed on.
Throughout the Bible, mentoring was used to pass on wisdom, skills and knowledge. We see lots of great examples of mentoring modelled well, Moses and Joshua, Paul and Timothy, Jesus and the Disciples and Mordecai and Esther.
The story of Esther is one of my favourite stories for so many reasons, but especially because she’s a bold and courageous woman who spoke up for injustice when it truly mattered. Here we talk about Esther in the context of her relationship with her mentor, Mordecai.
From Scripture, we know that Mordecai was Esther’s cousin (Esther 2:7). He adopted her and worked within the King’s gate. (From other parts of scripture, we know that the King’s gate was where business and decisions were made).
Esther didn’t wake up being the Queen - she was mentored so that she might reach her potential from orphan to Queen. We too can sometimes feel we aren’t where we want to be and just need a little encouragement.
It’s never too early to find a mentor to help equip us for where God wants us to be. As we know we are better when we work together!
Our mentors help us consider important questions and encourage us to think differently to the way we naturally do, or our friends think; to suggest options, not answers. Having a mentor doesn’t mean that all the things I find hard will suddenly disappear, but the process of self-reflection can draw us to live differently.
Esther’s life was by no means easy, she faced lots of the same struggles that other girls face across the world. As a girl, in her culture, she had very few rights. She was given an opportunity she knew was beyond her family background but because of her beauty, she was given access. In the time of Esther, family background and status were how you were identified in society.
Great mentors aren’t fixed on getting the glory for themselves but are more concerned with encouraging others to develop.
Even as a Queen, Esther never forgot Mordecai and all he had done for her in equipping her in life. Mordecai didn’t know the impact that Esther would play in the salvation of her people, all he knew is that he was called to do his part.
Esther became more influential than Mordecai in her ability to make impactful decisions. Her mentor had equipped her to know what she should do in all circumstances. He encouraged her to be courageous in the decisions she must make, to use her hands to change history, achieve justice and save God’s people, the Jews.
When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
Mentoring/being a mentee has been a part of my life since I was a teenager, beginning with my Youth Workers and godparents. Over time, I’ve had mentors for different seasons and for different purposes; sometimes for my career and sometimes for spiritual development. Whatever the situation, my mentors have all challenged me to live authentically and honestly in my decisions.
How do we learn from Esther’s journey in fulfilling the purpose that God had for her? What does Esther teach us when it comes to looking for a good mentor?
1. Mentors help us to achieve our potential
Esther was an orphan. She teaches us that our family background doesn’t define our lives but reminds us it’s just the start. Mordecai mentored Esther and provided an opportunity for her to go before the king, then on her own, she found favour with him. Mentors give us the tools to help reach our fullest potential.
2. Mentors ask us hard questions and teach us about the journey
When it counted, Mordecai challenged Esther and asked her an important question. Was she going to stand up and be counted or was she going to stay silent? It would have been very easy for Esther to ignore her past and focus on her future. In this case, both the journey of Esther’s past and the destination of her being Queen, are equally important.
If we are truly looking to be transformed into our fullest potential, we need to allow our mentors to ask us the hard questions and challenge us.
3. Mentors set an example
Mordecai lived with integrity in all that he stood for. He was at the gate of the city, faithful and willing to look stupid in sackcloth and ashes in order to stand up for the injustice predicted for his people (Esther 4:2). We need to make sure that we look for mentors who live with authenticity and integrity in the way they lead their lives. His integrity led him to be second in rank to King Xerxes (Esther 10:3).
Mentoring is significant so we can continue to be developed more into His likeness. Are you ready to be encouraged in being courageous in your life? If you are, find a mentor and get started!
Ruth became a Christian at a very young age and has been passionate about Jesus ever since! After moving around a lot, London has been home for the last 6 years, including studying for her Youth work and Practical Theology degree. An extrovert, she is passionate about authentic community, organisation and young people living out their full potential in wherever God has called them to be! She joined the team in 2018 and has written the series Better Together for Rise. During the week, Ruth is an Events and office manager for St Dionis church, Parsons Green.