Sunday Scripture – October 6, 2019
In 1726 somebody called First and Second Timothy and Titus “The Pastoral Epistles” and the name stuck. These letters were written by a pastor for pastors, and they do contain advice on leading a church, but the advice in them is in no way limited to pastors. We can still benefit, however, from eavesdropping on this correspondence.
Second Timothy was probably written while Paul was in imprisoned in Rome. This time, Paul’s imprisonment was not in a nice house with servants, but in a cold, dark cell. Paul would not survive much longer.
Probably Paul’s final writing, this was Paul’s way to make sure he passed along valuable advice in case Timothy didn’t make it to Rome before Paul died.
In this part of Paul’s letter, Paul reminds Timothy of his faith background and journey. He encourages him to find courage to face hard times and to not be ashamed of Paul’s imprisonment. Paul also suggests that Timothy should use that courage to defend and hold the message true. Paul urges Timothy to “guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit” and to accept his share of suffering “as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” He is further admonished to not get involved in controversies and to avoid corrupt and false people.
Paul entrusted Timothy to preserve the message, just as we are entrusted, today. As Christians, we are called to do ministry. In doing ministry, we need advice. We find that advice in those faithful examples that have gone before us.
This passage may remind us of the trusted Christian mentors and “pastors” of our past. What advice or words of encouragement did they leave us? Or what words would they have left us? Did they offer us warnings? Like Timothy, hat advice do we need?
This passage also gives us permission to think about the encouragement and advice we offers those that see us as a mentor. What can we encourage young people either by age or in faith to do? Paul encourages Timothy to be bold and brave. He encourages him to stand up where it is needed and to be strong. Timothy needed this advice. Like Paul, what advice can we offer?
1. Who taught you that Jesus loves you? Have you ever thanked them?
2. Do you have, tucked away somewhere, old letters that mean a lot to you? If so, what makes them special? Consider reading some of those letters again and pondering what someone reading them centuries from now might gain from them.
3. Where do you go for advice in carrying out your ministry(ies)? Where have you found the best advice? The worst?