Who Are You Grateful For?
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, make me in Your image so that I may be a worthy witness of You.
2 Timothy 1:1-7
Consider: "God is more interested in your future and your relationships than you are" (Billy Graham). Paul was that to Timothy.
The Christian church is built on relationships, just as "God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord" (2) together commissioned Paul and are jointly the source of all grace, mercy, and peace. Our need for relationships and our gratitude for them stem from the unity within the Trinity. Paul describes the web of relationships in which he and Timothy live. For Paul's part, he views Timothy as a "dear son" (2; cf. 2:1); he prays continually for him and longs to see him (3-4). Timothy is so bonded to Paul that separation causes him to weep. If only we had more such intimate relationships in our Christian communities--cross-generational discipling relationships reflecting such mutuality of respect and warmth of friendship. Many of us can point to a "Paul" figure in our lives. The challenge is to fulfill that role for others.
Although the apostle is clearly the senior partner in this relationship, he is grateful for Timothy and has confidence in his faith. He knows the family background and is assured that Timothy is building on his childhood teaching. The early influences of family faith have to become something that "lives" in us also (5). Timothy must have drawn encouragement from Paul's confidence in him, assigning him ministry away from the relative safety of Paul's close-knit team. Paul maintains fatherly care without micromanaging young Timothy.
Timothy will be stretched in ministry--particularly difficult for a sensitive, even diffident, soul. This is so important that Paul reminds him of God's gifting for the task. Giftedness, though, does not mean that everything comes easy. "The more I practice, the more gifted I become" was one artist's wry comment. Timothy will need to use his gift, even when he is tempted by timidity to keep it under cover.
Examine your relationships with God and with others, noting that Paul's orientation is one of gratitude.
Father, I thank You for those who mentored me in the faith. Direct me toward those whom I can accompany and encourage in their steps with You.
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