Thursday, November 10, 2022

          Paul and Timothy shared a special relationship.  They were more like a father and son than merely co-laborers or co-workers in the gospel.  They were bound together in Christ and their shared faith in the Lord Jesus.  Indeed, Paul referred to Timothy as “my true son in the faith” (I Timothy 1:2).  Later, in I Timothy 1:18, Paul again referred to Timothy as “my son.”  The older apostle was even brutally honest about the way he regarded himself.  He wrote, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” (I Timothy 1:15).  Not many of us would share so honestly and candidly about ourselves.  Yet, Paul possessed the kind of relationship with Timothy where he was completely comfortable in doing so.  They knew each other, trusted each other and loved each other in Christ. 
            It is good to have a friendship (or maybe two or three) where you can share freely, openly and candidly with someone and know that they have your best interest at heart and will hold confidentially and discreetly to whatever you share.  While Paul’s first letter to Timothy was similar to a father writing to his son, it was also a correspondence between two Christian brothers who shared a common faith in the Lord Jesus.  While Paul could counsel and instruct Timothy, he could also lean on him for spiritual support and encouragement.  What a blessing to have someone in your life whom you can trust in such a way!
            Near the end of this letter, Paul gave Timothy some guidance that speaks to us today.  We read, “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith” (I Timothy 6:20-21).  There are at least two good life lessons that stand out for us.  First, Paul says that we are to be good guardians of what has been entrusted to us.  If someone shares a battle or struggle with you, guard what has been shared.  Maintain discretion and prudence.  Often, a trusted ear and closed mouth are the best gifts you can offer to someone who may be going through a battle in life.  Likewise, if you are entrusted with property, a responsibility, a task or practically anything you can imagine, demonstrate that you are worthy of such a trust.  Treat what has been entrusted to you as if the Lord Himself placed it in your care.
            Second, never waste time with godless chatter or endless and aimless arguments and battles.  You do not always have to participate in the fruitless divisions and conflicts that some people enjoy perpetuating.  Stay focused on what God has given you or called you to do.  The enemy can easily distract us and divert our attention away from the things that matter and require the best we can muster.  You can pray for the misguided but you do not have to let them hijack your mission or the work of the day.  We have no obligation to be the stone upon which someone chooses to grind his or her axe.
            Paul gave Timothy (and us) something better to consider and to pursue in 6:11. We read, “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”  These six verses are worthy pursuits for us.  They have more to offer others and us.  Give thanks for the special person or persons that God brings into your life in a special friendship or way.  Guard what they mean to you and bless them as they bless you.  Together, like Paul and Timothy, you can both encourage each other for the glory of God and the greater work of Christ.  Join us on Sunday for Bible study, worship and our communal lunch after worship as you bring along a dish or two to share.  And remember our special collection of items for the new moms and moms-to-be at the Cabarrus Women’s Center on November 20.  Have a great day!  Remember you can find our worship at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis. 
               

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