Paul shares his travel plans and his desire to visit this body of believers. He makes sure to put in “if the Lord permits” into his itinerary.
This letter is winding down to a close. Paul has poured his heart out in order to deal with some of the issues the church is having and to answer their questions. He went back and shored up their foundation, reigned in their “freedoms”, and redirected them back to the main focus of loving people.
No matter how good a letter is though it can never replace the face to face connection. Paul wants to see these believers again. They are his spiritual children. But they are not the only ones he has been given charge over. He has many obligations and the biggest one is to follow where the Lord leads him. He won’t go anywhere without God’s approval.
Another issue for Paul is that he wants to stay with this body for a while. He doesn’t want to make a “touch and go” trip. He wants to be able to work with them, answer their questions, refine them, and praise God with them over the growth that takes place. Paul needs time with them for this. He is also praying that when he does come they will have already put into practice the things he speaks about in this letter. Some of Paul’s instructions have been difficult and will cause a least a few to resist. He is probably praying that those who remain will be ready for the real work afterwards.
Paul is entrusting Timothy with this letter and the authority to speak on his behalf instead of coming immediately himself. Timothy is young but has a lot of wisdom and understanding in the gospel. Paul paves the way for Timothy’s interactions with them.
As a young man, Timothy would have been looked upon as naive in the ways of the world. How could one so young lead those of experience? Because God had gifted him to and Paul is going to make sure this body recognizes that gifting.
Paul also asks this group to “help” Timothy “on his way in peace.” I’m assuming that means to help him financially as well as any practical help they can be. Paul awaits his return and Timothy will need food and funds to carry him back to Paul. I wonder who the other brothers are whom Paul expects him to return with.
Father God, thank You for sending Paul and Timothy and the other brothers out into the world to share Your good news. Without their work we Gentiles wouldn’t know You like we do. I know that You could just as easily have used someone else, but it’s exciting to read the stories of these men. Were they colorful characters? Did they laugh and joke with the people or were they always serious? How did Paul feel when he had to go over some of the same concepts with the same people later on? Was he patient with slow progress? I certainly appreciate Your patience with me. I know I haven’t earned it but I sure appreciate it.
I would love for You to be as clear with me as You were with Paul regarding Your direction for my life. Did he ever wonder “what now God?” I know I do. Thank You for putting up with my questions and wonderings. Show me where to go and what to do too Father. I trust Your directions.