In this letter, Paul asserts himself as the spiritual mentor of new Christians in Thessalonica. He portrays spiritual mentors as loving parents whose primary interest is the spiritual well-being of those they nurture and guide. A spiritual mentor does whatever it takes – urging, encouraging, even pleading – to lead those under their care toward a closer relationship with God. He also reminds them of the qualities of good spiritual mentors – they ought be good examples in behaviour, work and relationships.
At the beginning of worship, I usually invite worshippers to answer a spiritual question they were introduced to the week before. When I asked whom they considered as their spiritual mentor, many identified their parent or grandparent, some mentioned their pastor, others a caring Sunday school teacher or a close neighbour. All very ordinary people!
In the end, Paul writes that he is pleased with the development he seeks in the new believers he has been looking after. It appears that it has been a rewarding relationship for Paul as well.
Have you ever thought of being a spiritual mentor to someone?
Holy Spirit, you are welcome amongst us. Help us to hear your call to encourage and support others in their faith journeys. Help us to share with others the joy and peace of faith we know. Amen. — ES