For The Kingdom: Joy-Filled Living In Difficult Days | Day 44
“I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel. I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.” Philippians 2:19-24
Paul now turns his attention towards recognizing and honoring two men who had served and sacrificed greatly for the Kingdom and the Gospel- Timothy and Epaphroditus. These two fellow Gospel workers deserved to be treated with respect and honor. It should not go unnoticed that Paul describes these men immediately after speaking of his own willingness “to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith.” Paul believed that a life poured out on behalf of the faith of others will never be empty. This belief both inspired others to live this way and attracted similar believers to his ministry. A lazy person will rarely inspire others to hard work. A selfish person will rarely inspire others to sacrificial living. A greedy man will rarely inspire generosity. As Paul demonstrates for anyone who desires to be a leader of leaders; to raise up committed, courageous and Kingdom-minded workers, you must be striving to model this in your own life.
Paul describes two Kingdom workers who have become near and dear to Paul- Timothy and Epaphroditus. Today, let’s look at Timothy, Paul’s “son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2)
Kingdom Worker: Timothy A “second generation Christian,” Timothy had been raised in the faith by his Mother Eunice and his Grandmother Eunice who were Jews who had come to faith in Christ as a result of Paul’s first missionary journey through their hometown of Lystra which is in modern day Turkey. Timothy’s father was Greek and not a believer in Christ, so Timothy understood what it was like to be bi-racial as well as to grow up without a spiritual Father. This may be why Timothy resonated so much with Paul and why Paul referred to Timothy as “a son in the faith.” Timothy would soon accompany Paul on his missionary journeys and at a relatively young age was entrusted with the Pastoral leadership of the church in Ephesus. 1 and 2 Timothy were written by Paul to Timothy to encourage and instruct him as a young Pastor of the church.
A healthy discipleship model every believer should strive to pursue is finding a “Paul”, a “Barnabas” and a “Timothy” to invest in relationally.
3 Relationships Every Disciple Should Have:
1) Spiritual Mentor: A “Paul” is an older, more spiritually mature mentor who can challenge and grow you in your faith and accountability. A Spiritual Mentor does not have to be a big-name Pastor, but someone with a faith and life worth imitating. “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1.
Q. Do you have a Paul in your life? If not, reach out to a more mature believer in your church or in your life and ask them to mentor you. There are many mature believers who would be thrilled to invest in your spiritual growth.
2) Encouraging Peer/Accountability Partner: A “Barnabas” is a peer who has a gift of encouragement that you can lean on as a brother in the ministry. Paul and Barnabas were equals, neither had any spiritual authority over the other. As a result, Barnabas could both encourage and challenge Paul on a personal and spiritual level. It is important for each of us to have someone in our lives who can encourage us to keep going when things get tough (see how Barnabas did this for Paul in Acts 11:23-25). We also need someone who will tell us when we are out of line, like Barnabas often did for Paul (see Acts 15:36-41).
Q. Do you have a Barnabas in your life? Get involved in a small group, men’s or women’s ministry at your church or school and ask the Lord to lead you into a relationship with another believer whom you can relate with as a peer who will encourage you and hold you accountable. Intentionally reach out to them and invite them to speak into your life. Don’t forget that this goes both ways, you must also be an encourager and friend as well!
3) Spiritual Apprentice: A Timothy is someone in whom you can invest spiritually and raise up as a disciple in the Lord. Finding a Timothy in your life is a true treasure- a younger man (or woman) whom you can mentor, prepare for ministry service and joyfully support as they fulfill their ministry calling unto the Lord. Even for Paul, a guy like Timothy was rare- “for I have no one like him.” When the Lord entrusts “a Timothy” to your care, it is a beautifully worthwhile investment of your life. No matter where you are in your spiritual journey as a disciple, you can find someone who is a little further behind you whom you can invest in.
Q. Do you have a Timothy in your life? Who are you investing in spiritually? If you have been a Christian for a while, why are you not making disciples? Do not wait until you are old and gray to begin investing in those who will come behind you.