Posted by: pastortomvabeach | June 2, 2014

Thought for the Week June 8, 2014

Several years ago, Pastor Jerry Scott wrote an article entitled, Got a Timothy in Tow, that presents some timeless advice for us as followers of Jesus Christ. I’ll share the whole article and then add my two cents.

“About 30 years ago, when I was a newly minted preacher, more full of myself than with the Spirit, my dad sent me a letter, written in longhand script, in which he basically said, “Take advantage of my experience. Fall in step and learn from me!” His mentoring steadied me, gave me practical insight and kept me from wandering into traps of temptation.

“That letter still lies in the top drawer of my desk in my church office. I treasure that piece of paper, which I have read dozens of times over the years. It is a symbol of Dad’s constant work of coaching the Timothy’s he found in the world all around him. Through the years he spoke into the lives of many, inspiring devotion and coaching them to find and use the spiritual gifts invested in them by God. And he’s still doing it.

“Do you have a Timothy in tow? The allusion is to Paul and Timothy. During Paul’s travels he met a young man named Timothy in the city of Lystra. Timothy was the son of a Greek father and a Jewish mother. Paul saw the potential in Timothy and accepted him as a ‘true son in the faith’ (I Timothy 1:2). Intentionally, Paul took Timothy along in order to live before him an example of ministry. Then Paul sent Timothy out to serve. Paul’s two letters to Timothy are packed with practical insight and direction for ministry, written in a warm and fatherly tone.

“‘I’m passing this work on to you, my son Timothy. The prophetic word that was directed to you prepared us for this. All those prayers are coming together now so you will do this well, fearless in your struggle.’ (I Timothy 1:18, The Message).

“Dr. Leonard Sweet, in a book titled, 11 Indispensable Relationships You Can’t Be Without, points out that mentoring provides a two-way benefit. Most of the time, we think of the knowledge that flows to the Timothy. However, the Timothy keeps the Paul from getting stuck in a rut. The Timothy brings fresh perspective.

“Believer, are you mentoring anyone? When we mentor a Timothy, we do something that has eternal significance. Dad poured his experience into me, handing me the tools of faith. In my life, I have mentored some who are now passing the faith along to those they know. And that is something that pleases my Heavenly Father and changes destinies. Go, prayerfully find a Timothy to love and lead. Encourage your Timothy to learn, to discover what God wants to do in his or her life. And don’t forget to let their fresh perspective keep your own faith alive and relevant to an ever-changing world.”

I think this is one of the most important means of helping one another grow in our faith, in our love for God’s Word, and in our ability to serve the body of Christ and the world. What we call mentoring today was the main way that Jesus taught His followers and they, in turn, passed the faith on to others. Mentoring doesn’t have to be anything formal or structured. It’s simply walking alongside another believer and living the faith together.

Every believer ought to have a Timothy (or Timothea) whom they are mentoring and, on the other side, ought to have a Paul (or Paula) who is mentoring them. One of the best ways for this to happen is to recruit someone to walk with you as you do whatever ministry God has given you to do. This helps them see how you draw on God’s grace and gives them some hands on experience so they can have the joy of serving also.

If you don’t have a Timothy, would you look around and find someone to do ministry with you? John Maxwell shared a self-written proverb that fits this idea – “Never do ministry alone.” My two cents is that we will increase our capacity to serve and grow as followers of Jesus Christ if we each find a Timothy to walk with us. I will, will you?

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