Reading for Friday, Aug 24: 1 Timothy 6
Paul’s mentorship of the young Timothy is an instructive model for our day. Paul just pours himself into Timothy, instructing him and guiding him away from controversy and deeper into a ministry of the Living Word. His words here rival a Vince Lombardi halftime speech for their motivational quotient: “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses,” (v11-12). And Paul goes on: “I charge you in the presence of God…and of Christ Jesus…to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord,” (v13-14). Paul doesn’t mince words — this is a high calling. But Timothy has to be encouraged in the knowledge that Paul deems him worthy, deems him capable of living into this calling. This is what mentors do — they see us at our worst, yet they continue to believe in and point us toward the best version of ourselves we can become.
I once read that in order for a boy to grow into the kind of man God intends him to become, he needs the example of another man in his life. I’ve had several such mentors in my life and I’ve written about them from time to time on this blog: Johnny Markham, Lee Milam, Gary Bradley — men who, like Paul with Timothy, have put their arms around me as a young minister, teaching and instructing and (on occasion) rebuking me along the way. Their examples have been consistent, their encouragement toward me persistent. Maybe the greatest blessing has been the fact that they’ve believed in me, believed I was at least capable of service and ministry at some level. And that belief has truly made all the difference in my life.
So, on behalf of every Timothy out there, today we give thanks for our Pauls, for our spiritual fathers in the faith, the men and women who reach out in love, showing us the most excellent way.