It is said that Joshua was around 85 years old at the time when the Israelites crossed the Jordan River. He died at the age of 110, which means he led the Israelites for about 25 years. I have to ask myself this question, what did he do for the first 85 years before he became the successor to one of the greatest leaders in biblical history? The answer I would suggest is that he was being mentored by one of the greatest leaders in biblical history.
As we read through the story of the exodus we begin to see the process of mentoring and leadership development that formed Joshua into the leader God called him to be. We are first introduced to Joshua as Moses tasks him as commander of the army that was to destroy the Amalekites, then we don’t see or hear much of Joshua until later when he arrives on the scene with Moses at the base of the mount of Sinai.
Although we have only a few details into the “ 85 year mentorship program” of Joshua we do get a glimpse into how the Lord teaches us some important leadership lessons and the value of mentoring. Joshua had the opportunity to work alongside Moses being involved in the day-to-day leadership of the people. Moses gave Joshua the roles and responsibilities that helped shape him into the leader God planned for him to be. Numbers 27:15-21 describes the commissioning of Joshua by Moses, giving him some of his authority over Israel, Joshua was “filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses laid his hands on him”. (Deut 34:9)
Did Joshua have an advantage over us today as leaders during the mentoring process with Moses? I don’t think so, it may have been in a different time and place but I think that we all have our own unique growth experiences as leaders. In fact I think we may even have an advantage in most cases, we have the stories and examples written for us in the Bible. We can learn from downfalls and victories that are written of all the great leaders and teachers throughout the Old and New Testaments.
I am thankful for all the mentors that God has placed in my life, I am thankful that I have people in my life that have been able to speak freely and honestly into my growth as a Christian leader, a husband, a father and a friend.