Today’s Reading II Timothy Chapters 1 & 2
Throughout our lives, hopefully we have had the opportunity to interact with our parents. These relationships with our parents can vary from each individual and sometimes differ in our own families. This past weekend, many families were able to gather and celebrate with each other. This season of holidays can sometimes be fun and merry, but it can also be difficult and painful. Sometimes our past and current relationships with our parents can be joyful and beneficial, but sometimes they can have sorrow and pain associated with them.
Currently the relationships that I have with my mother and father are good. Over the years we have had our differences, but we are at a place where we can each respect each other and our differences. I know that I might be in the minority of where I have a meaningful and understanding relationship with both of my parents, but I have had to work diligently for years to cultivate these bonds with my mom and my dad. For the last several years I have intentionally worked on these relationships by increasing my communication with them on a more regular basis. I also have an understanding between them that we are all adults and we can be beneficial to each other and not have any negative feelings towards each other for any infraction on anything.
As a child I understood that my parents had the best interest in mind, but my young mind would not be able to comprehend this at that time. As a father I am seeing the same predicament play out with my children as well. Sometimes the children cannot fully understand the choices and decisions that we have to make as adults for their best interest. But as they grow and as I have grown I have seen the emotional toll that it takes older adults to make these hard decisions and that’s part of being a parent.
All these years of listening and being mentored by my father I have had some amazing words of wisdom and fatherly advice. Here are a couple that I can remember :
- Don’t take any wooden nickels
- Everything in the mind doesn’t have to come out the mouth
- This ol’ world is a mean ol world, Cheer a man up in his sorrow, you might be down tomorrow.
- You know where you came from, but you don’t know where you are going
- Not every day can be sunny, prepare for a rainy day and keep your umbrella handy.
- Everyone has the potential to be a thorn, but not everyone can show their inner flower.
We have been given a glimpse of some of these words of wisdom and Fatherly Advice from Paul to Timothy in this book. As we continue to review Paul’s letters and dive deeper into his message to the nine different churches and to his closest friends and associates we come to the letters that he wrote to Timothy. These letters to Timothy are some of the most personal letters that he has written in our Bible to this point. These are personal messages from a father to a son, that we have a glimpse into their relationship. At this point in their lives Paul is a prisoner under house arrest in Rome and Timothy is the principle leader for the church of Ephesus. To see the full extent of their relationship we have to go back to their beginning.
Their Journey started in Acts chapter 16 where Paul meets Timothy in Lystra and Iconium.
Acts 16: 1- 5 : Paul[a] came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 He was well spoken of by the brothers[b] at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.
At this point Paul takes Timothy as a disciple and a son. From biblical references it is assumed that Timothy is about 16. When Paul is writing the this letter to Timothy it is assumed that is about 14 years after their journey began, so Timothy would be approximately 30 to 40 years old.To see the full picture of the letter you have to understand the relationship between Paul and Timothy.
Paul has been a mentor and a father figure to Timothy for more than half his life. When we were introduced to Timothy, his father was not mentioned. The other part of their relationship is that we have to assume that they are communicating to each other on a regular basis. We are only giving a glimpse of some of the communications. They could have thousands of letters written back-and-forth between each other during these times. We have been gifted with a couple of letters between the two.
In these two letters we can see that Timothy is like us: we are adults but we still need help and assistance from our mentors and our elders. Timothy is one of the leaders or the main leader of one of the largest churches in Asia and needs help. Sometimes we need help. Sometimes we need to know how to ask for help. Sometimes we need to know how to use the help. Sometimes we need to just listen. There are several places in these two chapters that Paul is giving Timothy some sound advice.
II Timothy: 1: 2-6;9 2 To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4 As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control…..who saved us and called us to[a] a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, II Timothy 2: 4-7 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. 16-17 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. 20-21 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable,[d] he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. 22-25 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord's servant[e] must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness.
Each on of these pieces that Paul is guiding Timothy with is still valid today in our society. These are nuggets that Paul is giving his son in how to work with the people in the church and for the body of Christ.
As we review these points, let us ask ourselves how we are engaging with each other on a spiritual level. One exercise that we could do is write a letter to our father or mother or a mentor.
What will we say to them? What words of advice would we tell them how we are using their advice? What will we write to a son or a daughter or someone that we mentor to give them advice about what’s going on? How is God using us in our relationships to be encouraging?
Have a blessed week.