“Christians are quite serious in believing that when they gather together for worship and work, God is present and sovereign, really present and absolutely sovereign. God creates and guides, God saves and heals, God corrects and blesses, God calls and judges. With such comprehensive and personal leadership from God, what is the place of human leadership?”
An introduction to Timothy and Titus…by Eugene Peterson—
“Quite obviously, it has to be second place. It must not elbow its way to the front, it must not bossily take over. Ego-centered, ego-prominent leadership betrays the Master. The best leadership in spiritual communities formed in the name of Jesus, the Messiah, is inconspicuous, not calling attention to itself, but not sacrificing anything in the way of conviction and firmness either.”
“In his letters to two young associates—Timothy in Ephesus and Titus in Crete—we see Paul encouraging and guiding the development of just such leadership. What he had learned so thoroughly himself, he was now passing on, and showing them, in turn, how to develop a similar leadership in local congregations. This is essential reading because ill-directed and badly formed spiritual leadership causes much damage in souls. Paul in both his life and in his letters shows us how to do it right.”
TIMOTHY—PASSING IT ON WITH MENTORSHIP
1 Timothy 1, The Message
1-2 I, Paul, am an apostle on special assignment for Christ, our living hope. Under God our Savior’s command, I’m writing this to you, Timothy, my son in the faith. All the best from our God and Christ be yours!
Self-Appointed Experts on Life
3-4 On my way to the province of Macedonia, I advised you to stay in Ephesus. Well, I haven’t changed my mind. Stay right there on top of things so that the teaching stays on track. Apparently some people have been introducing fantasy stories and fanciful family trees that digress into silliness instead of pulling the people back into the center, deepening faith and obedience.
5-7 The whole point of what we’re urging is simply love—love uncontaminated by self-interest and counterfeit faith, a life open to God. Those who fail to keep to this point soon wander off into dead ends of gossip. They set themselves up as experts on religious issues, but haven’t the remotest idea of what they’re holding forth with such imposing eloquence.
8-11 It’s true that moral guidance and counsel need to be given, but the way you say it and to whom you say it are as important as what you say. It’s obvious, isn’t it, that the law code isn’t primarily for people who live responsibly, but for the irresponsible, who defy all authority, riding roughshod over God, life, sex, truth, whatever! They are cynical toward this great Message I’ve been put in charge of by this great God.
* * *
12-14 I’m so grateful to Christ Jesus for making me adequate to do this work. He went out on a limb, you know, in trusting me with this ministry. The only credentials I brought to it were violence and witch hunts and arrogance. But I was treated mercifully because I didn’t know what I was doing—didn’t know Who I was doing it against! Grace mixed with faith and love poured over me and into me. And all because of Jesus.
15-19 Here’s a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I’m proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever.
Deep honor and bright glory
to the King of All Time—
One God, Immortal, Invisible,
ever and always. Oh, yes!
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, keeping a firm grip on your faith and on yourself. After all, this is a fight we’re in.
19-20 There are some, you know, who by relaxing their grip and thinking anything goes have made a thorough mess of their faith. Hymenaeus and Alexander are two of them. I let them wander off to Satan to be taught a lesson or two about not blaspheming.
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
God chose Timothy for Paul to mentor and pass on the work begun in Paul. “Under God our Savior’s command . . .”
Led by the Holy Spirit, Paul teaches Timothy:
- Keep Jesus at the center of all you think, say and do.
- Let the Love of Jesus in you lead you. “The whole point of what we’re urging is simply love—love uncontaminated by self-interest and counterfeit faith, a life open to God.”
- “It’s true that moral guidance and counsel need to be given, but the way you say it and to whom you say it are as important as what you say.” (That’s why God’s Love leads!)
- God-led Leaders are grateful for what God has done in them. They never forget what God did in them before using them to help others. Their very lives show the mercy and grace of God! “Grace mixed with faith and love poured over me and into me. And all because of Jesus.”
- God-led Leaders pray for those God wants them to mentor so the work continues. Paul prayed for Timothy. He prayed, “so you will do this well, fearless in your struggle, keeping a firm grip on your faith and on yourself. After all, this is a fight we’re in.”
Ah, what a powerful foundation upon which to build a mentorship of those people God sends to us, to pass on what God has taught us as leaders and followers of Christ!
Who is your mentor? (We all need many advisors, as Proverbs wisdom tells us.)
Who are you mentoring? In what ways? For what reasons? Why?
Some of us will say we are not teachers or leaders, but we are—all of us! There is always someone seeking to better their walk and they do it by watching others who say they believe. That is probably you! And me.
First, all of Life is all about You. You are God and we are not. You are merciful in the ways you brought us from lostness to being found in you. You saved us from ourselves and selfish living. Lord, I know you want to take us to a place of helping others find and follow you, too. I pray that all the learning, merciful acts of forgiveness, and love you have given to me is passed on to others with Your Spirit of Love, with your wisdom flowing through me, with your words of advice and counsel that are merciful kind and loving with your patience—just as you and others were to me. Help us to pass it on and on and on…
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen! Yes!