Saul was a young man with great potential and much natural ability. Saul started out well relying upon his natural ability, but his reign quickly deteriorated due to a lack of character and godliness.
Samuel did he best to try to shape the character of Saul. Even when Saul rebelled against the Lord, Samuel kept challenging him to repent and return to God.
From the story of Samuel and Saul in 1 Samuel, we learn a few things about mentoring:
1. Mentors can only do so much. The people they mentor must be willing to obey God and must be willing to let God develop their character.
2. Mentoring can be a heart-breaking thing. When we open our hearts up to love and help people, we are vulnerable to getting hurt. Samuel was excited about the young king and wanted the best for him. (10:1) Saul made mistake after mistake that cost him the kingdom (13:8-14, 15:9-35). Samuel mourned for Saul because he was rejected from being king (16:1).
3. We should not get all of our hopes and dreams so wrapped in one person that we cannot move on and help others when that one individual does not work out (16:1).
4. Who we choose to mentor may not always be the guy with the greatest potential or the one that everyone would pick first (16:6-13).