Timothy is introduced for the first time in Acts 16:1 as someone who was “well spoken of by the brethren.” Not much
is said of the first exchange between Timothy and his future mentor Paul, but over the course of the next several years, Timothy experienced ministry, travel, and even imprisonment at the side of the man who would become his spiritual father.
Timothy dealt with issues that many emerging leaders face. Read through the following verses, asking yourself if any of the characteristics of young Timothy are true for you:
loneliness (1 Timothy 1:18-19)
trying to relate to older leaders (1 Timothy 5:1-2)
feeling content (1 Timothy 6:6-8)
lack of confidence (2 Timothy 1:5-7)
seeking freedom from old habits (2 Timothy 2:22)
staying doctrinally pure (2 Timothy 4:1-4)
Christian tradition holds that after Paul died, Timothy settled in Ephesus leading the church and guiding their doctrine and character. Paul’s words to Timothy were a gift to him at a crucial point in his ministry. Through his spiritual friendship with Paul, Timothy was able to overcome doubts and tendencies that are typical among emerging leaders. His passion for serving the church well was developed in the context of mentorship.
THOUGHTS FOR LEADERS
Many would-be leaders never get the opportunity to enjoy their passion – not because of a lack of competence, but because of a lack of character. God uses mentorship to refine raw tendencies, allowing emerging leaders to better understand their passion.
Look for ways to test your passion in different contexts. Engage different types of ministry. Talk (and listen) to people. Develop the discipline of discernment. Rather than striking out on your own, spend time forging intentional spiritual friendships with seasoned believers who can help you grow.
It’s difficult to imagine Timothy without Paul. With so much at stake, why do you think many emerging leaders are hesitant to engage in an idea like mentoring?
Who do you think enjoyed their mentoring relationship more – Paul or Timothy?
Is there anyone in your sphere of influence (church, home, community, etc.) whose friendship would spiritually benefit you? How can you initiate that relationship?
This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
1 Timothy 1:18-19 KJV
Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.
1 Timothy 5:1-2 KJV
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
1 Timothy 6:6-8 KJV
When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:5-7 KJV
Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2:22 KJV
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
2 Timothy 4:1-4 KJV