Paul continues to encourage Timothy to continue on in the office Paul placed him in. He got there by Paul’s direction but under God’s authority and will. His service too, had a lasting impact.
When I think of Timothy I wonder how he felt in this position of authority. We know he was a young church leader. He joined Paul while he was in his teens and spent about 13 years with him. So that put him probably somewhere in his 30s when he was the leader of this body of believers. The culture of his time equated wisdom with age. So did he feel like he had nothing to contribute? Did others look at him with suspicion because of his position? Jesus was only 30 when His ministry began. People wondered where He got His wisdom too. I don’t know. Maybe I’m making something more of his age than was actually an issue. But Paul did mention it several times, so maybe not.
Paul’s instructions to Timothy today seem to center on “keep on keeping on” and gather those around you who are faithful who will also stay true to the truth. Paul tells Timothy to train others so they can train even more. This is how we have the gospel today. It was passed on through the generations. God didn’t leave it to word of mouth and passing along what they thought they were taught. He had it written down under HIS authority and supervision. He still brings the understanding when we allow Him to. His Spirit still guides our hearts to His truth, over 2,000 years later. He has been doing that since the beginning of time BUT He needs us to be the vessels He works through.
Paul is calling Timothy to be that vessel. God has a job for him to do. God also has a plan for Timothy’s service. By submitting fully to God’s will Timothy will gain a reward. Paul doesn’t paint a rosy picture of God’s plan. He himself was expecting to be executed very soon while walking that plan out. Paul wasn’t in prison as a punishment for his rebellion against God. He was there for a purpose. MANY people benefited from his placement. Paul eventually benefited the most. When he came face to face with Jesus ALL he had endured will be rewarded. I don’t know exactly what that reward will be but being able to spend bench time with Jesus for eternity is more than enough reward for me.
All three analogies Paul uses require dedication and commitment to a goal. The goal is to be with Jesus and bring as many others along as possible. Jesus does all the “heavy lifting” so long as we are faithful to His plan. We CAN’T make anyone surrender to Jesus or ask Him into their life. Only He can do that through His Holy Spirit. But it is our job as His child to present others with the opportunity to hear about His love.
My sharing God’s love looks a LOT different from Timothy’s, but both are important to Him. I’m MORE than grateful my service looks different from Paul’s. I wonder what became of Timothy. Did he too end up in chains for the gospel? I have no doubt that he continued on in the faith. I’m looking forward to a long talk with him in Heaven too.
“This saying is (still) trustworthy, for: If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful” (verses 11-13). Keep on keeping on with Him. The journey is worth it. And His mercy endures forever, even when I mess up.
Thank You Father that You are faithful. Thank You for preparing a path for my life. I don’t know how it lines up with Your original design but I know that the big things are in place. I trust You with my tomorrows. Help me walk the paths You prepared for me, no matter what the cost.
Thank You for preserving Your word so what I have today is what Jesus shared when He walked the earth. Thank You for opening my mind to receive from Your word too. I know I don’t have even half of it figured out. In fact, You show me something new nearly every time I come to You. Thank You for that. Help me always wait for Your direction and understanding.