‘But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.’ – Philippians 2.22From Sam Lomas:
I wonder whether there is a particular person in your life who has encouraged you or helped you to get better at something? Maybe it’s a teacher who praised your hand-writing or a coach who helped you shoot better during netball. Chances are you can think of someone who helped you grow. For me, it was my maths teacher – the best school teacher I ever had – who helped me progress in the subject far more quickly than I had done before.
But what about someone who has helped influence and shape you to become more Christ-like? Is there someone who has helped you grow in your faith and understanding? Maybe someone springs to mind.
In the verse above we have a glimpse into the relationship between the Apostle Paul and Timothy. Paul describes their relationship like that of a father and a son. Interestingly, when Paul wrote these words, most vocational training was done by fathers, and sons stayed loyal to the family business. Jesus for example, started his adult life in his earthly father’s footsteps as a carpenter.
Timothy displayed that same loyalty in his spiritual apprenticeship with Paul. Just as a skilled workman trains an apprentice, Paul was preparing Timothy to carry on the ministry in his absence. Paul and Timothy’s relationship helps us see the ways in which younger Christians should:
- And then when the time is right, lead.
We also see that Paul sets an example to more mature Christians who should:
- And then to turn over their leadership at the right time.
Their relationship is a helpful reminder to each of us of our role in being mentors for those younger in the faith, as well as a challenge to find someone from whom you can learn.
Being mentored by someone more experienced and older in the faith is one of the best ways to grow in understanding whilst also providing a level of accountability. My first Christian
s mentor was a guy called Ben. Ben was a big friendly giant of a man who worked as an associate minister at the church I grew up attending. We hung out and played squash – all the while I was asking questions, watching his actions, learning what it meant to be a follower of Jesus.
I’ll finish with two questions:
- Whom are you able to mentor, train, or teach more about Jesus?
- Whom are you learning from and observing to grow in your own love and understanding of Jesus?