As a newly qualified teacher I was assigned a mentor for my first year in the job. This was someone to guide me and help me to put theory into practice. I could ask her questions and share my successes and failures. I also could observe her teaching in order to improve my own practice. I needed a mentor because I was young and inexperienced!
This is a very similar concept to that which Paul had in mind in Titus 2 for women in the church. Young Christians need to be mentored by those who are more mature in the faith.
Why is it necessary?
The world today is a confusing place for young women. We are bombarded daily by messages that tell us what kind of people we should be. There are even women whose job it is to “influence” us on social media. It is easy for young women to lose their footing on the Christian pathway. The list of things that Paul exhorts the older women to teach is completely contrary to how we are encouraged to behave by society today.
To the Older Women
Don’t assume that your input is not wanted. Many young women are desperate for mature spiritual guidance and support. Try to build relationships with the younger women in your church. Trust can be built up through spending time together, perhaps meeting up for coffee. The more you get to know one another, the more you will be able to help.
Be gentle. Try to encourage rather than rebuke. It is likely to be more effective. Paul is very positive in his language when he instructs to teach “what is good” and to encourage. Bear in mind that the younger woman is still learning.
Lead by example. Paul gives instructions to the older women first so that they may be able to teach the younger women. The younger women should be able to look at your life to see how to practically live out what they believe.
To the Young Women
Get to know the older women in your church. They could have a wealth of spiritual knowledge and life experience that you can learn from. Don’t be dismissive of the older women. Just because they might not be able work their phones very well doesn’t mean they can’t teach us a thing or two. (In fact, maybe not using their phones as much helps them to be more spiritual!)
Be prepared to learn. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you know best, but we are inexperienced in life. We’re new to being in the workplace, having a husband or raising children, and there is a lot that we can learn. Bear in mind that we need to be taught so that we will not dishonour the Word of God with our behaviour. That is pretty important!
Be honest and open. We all make mistakes and it seems that the younger we are, the more we make. It is OK to share your mistakes with an older Christian woman and ask for help and guidance. Tell her what happened and ask for advice on how you could do better next time. Choose someone who will be open with you and hopefully she will be willing to share with you some of her own mistakes and the lessons she learned from them.
Enjoy the fellowship. Older women may have fascinating stories to share. Many of them have led very interesting and faithful lives. Make the most of their company and their wisdom because they won’t be here forever. And then the mantle will fall on us to provide the mentoring for the next generation.
So, while it can be valuable to be mentored in your career, it is far more important to be guided as a “newly qualified” Christian woman, wife and mother. The stakes are far higher and the rewards much greater. If we desire to glorify God with our lives then may we all seek out those who can help and encourage us to do this.