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Essential Mentoring

Ephesians 6:21-22
Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you. (NIVUK)

Networking is not a new business strategy.  Tychicus was one of Paul's personal assistants, who was trusted to share Paul's news and encouragement around the churches (Colossians 4:7-9). This was classical networking.  Everybody felt that they were known and could get to know others better.  But this was not just a series of social encounters: the key communication was about Jesus. As churches grew, they needed to be taught - that was Paul's job (Acts 26:15-18) - either personally, by messengers like Tychicus, or by letter.  They also needed problem issues to be resolved, encouragement to keep going, rebuke and correction where things were going astray, and training for leaders (2 Timothy 2:2) and new Christians. All that was Paul's job too! But, however much they gained from his instruction, they needed Paul to be a role model too (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Paul was sending Tychicus to Ephesus, as Paul also did towards the end of his life (2 Timothy 4:12), not only with encouraging teaching, but also to let them know how Paul was getting on in prison (Colossians 4:7).   It was important for them to know that, although he was suffering, the Lord was sustaining him ... and that he was still spreading the good news about Jesus (Romans 1:16). Then, whatever their circumstances, they would be encouraged to keep going as active and vocal Christians, and not give up. Unlike some celebrity leaders today, Paul was eager to tell everything, the 'downs' as well as the 'ups' - but with the keynote that Jesus can be trusted in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

True Christian fellowship which has the potential to inspire and motivate others, is born out of trusting open relationship.  1 John 1:3 says, "We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ."   In other words, the standard for fellowship relationships is the close knowingness of the Father and the Son.  Paul did not withhold from Tychicus anything about himself, even though he was an apostle.  Paul wanted that style of relationship to be normal in the churches, and between the churches and their missionaries.

Today's businesses are realising the importance of role models and mentoring.  In this information-rich age, knowledge becomes dangerous without guidance and examples of how to use it.  That is why we need the Bible, with all its role models (including the Apostle Paul).  But we also need devoted Christians whose example inspires us, and whose personal interest encourages us.  Christian biographies are a very helpful start.   If you do not have someone to encourage you like that, why not pray to find one?  Likewise, we can be an inspiration to others. You would be surprised how much others notice your character at work ... and that's good if you are being a godly example!  Others can then follow you.  It should be one of the great functions of the Christian Fellowship at work, if everybody is willing to be open, honest and prayerful according to the Scriptures.

Dear Lord. Thank You for all the examples of godly living that I read in the Bible. Forgive me for not daring to engage in real fellowship. Help me to learn from godly people around me at church and at work – how to share and also receive mentoring - so that I can be a living example of Your grace to others. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams