3 Phases of a Paul and Timothy Relationship
God works through each of the relationships in our lives. He uses a Paul to guide us. He uses a Timothy to help us mature. And He uses a Barnabas to. In order to both mentor and be mentored effectively, it's important to see how the relationship between Paul and Timothy developed over time. Timothy was an early Christian evangelist and the first first-century Christian bishop of Ephesus The Apostle Paul met him during his second missionary journey and he became Paul's companion and co-worker along with His relationship with Paul was close and Paul entrusted him with missions of great importance.
Thence Paul went quickly up to Jerusalem and back to Antioch, from which he set out again to visit the churches, and made a special stay in Ephesus.
While there he planned a visit to Macedonia and Achaia, in preparation for one to Jerusalem, and finally to Rome.
So he sent Timothy and Erastus on ahead to Macedonia, which would of course include Philippi. After that visit to Macedonia and Greece Paul returned to Philippi, from which he sailed with Timothy in his company.
He was probably with him all the way to Rome, and we find him mentioned as sharer in the imprisonment both here and in Colossians. The references made to him point to a very sweet, good, pure and gracious character without much strength, needing to be stayed and stiffened by the stronger character, but full of sympathy, unselfish disregard of self, and consecrated love to Christ.
He had been surrounded with a hallowed atmosphere from his youth, and 'from a child had known the holy Scriptures,' and 'prophecies' like fluttering doves had gone before on him. He had 'often infirmities' and 'tears. This favourite companion he will now send to his favourite church.
The verses of our text express that intention, and give us a glimpse into the Apostle's thoughts and feelings in his imprisonment. The prisoner's longing and hope. The first point which strikes us in this self-revelation of Paul's is his conscious uncertainty as to his future. In the previous chapter ver. In the verses immediately preceding our text he faces the possibility of death.
Here he recognises the uncertainty but still 'trusts' that he will be liberated, but yet he does not know 'how it may go with' him. We think of him in his lodging sometimes hoping and sometimes doubting.
He had a tyrant's caprice to depend on, and knew how a moment's whim might end all. Surely his way of bearing that suspense was very noteworthy and noble. It is difficult to keep a calm heart, and still more difficult to keep on steadily at work, when any moment might bring the victor's axe.
Suspense almost enforces idleness, but Paul crowded these moments of his prison time with letters, and Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon are the fruits for which we are indebted to a period which would have been to many men a reason for throwing aside all work.
How calmly too he speaks of the uncertain issue! Surely never was the possibility of death more quietly spoken of than in 'so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. There is no attitudinising here, all is perfectly simple and natural. Can we look, do we habitually look, into the uncertain future with such a temper -- accepting all that may be in its grey mists, and feeling that our task is to fill the present with strenuous loving service, leaving tomorrow with all its alternatives, even that tremendous one of life and death, to Him who will shape it to a perfect end?
We note, further, the purpose of Paul's love. It is beautiful to see how he yearns over these Philippians and feels that his joy will be increased when he hears from them.
He is sure, as he believes, to hear good, and news which will be a comfort. Among the souls whom he bore on his heart were many in the Macedonian city, and a word from them would be like 'cold water to a thirsty soul. Is there not a lesson here for all Christian workers, for all teachers, preachers, parents, that no good is to be done without loving sympathy? Unless our hearts go out to people we shall never reach their hearts. We may talk to them for ever, but unless we have this loving sympathy we might as well be silent.
It is possible to pelt people with the Gospel, and to produce the effect of flinging stones at them. Much Christian work comes to nothing mainly for that reason. And how deep a love does he show in his depriving himself of Timothy for their sakes, and in his reason for sending him! Those reasons would have been for most of us the strongest reason for keeping him.
It is not everybody who will denude himself of the help of one who serves him 'as a child serveth a father,' and will part with the only like-minded friend he has, because his loving eye will clearly see the state of others.
Paul's expression of his purpose to send Timothy is very much more than a piece of emotional piety. He 'hopes in the Lord' to accomplish his design, and that hope so rooted and conditioned is but one instance of the all-comprehending law of his life, that, to him, to 'live is Christ.
Our hopes should be derived from union with Him. They should not be the play of our own fancy or imagination. They should be held in submission to him, and ever with the limitation, 'Not as I will, but as Thou wilt.
If thus we hope, our hopes may lead us nearer to Jesus instead of tempting us away from Him by delusive brightnesses. There is a religious use of hope not only when it is directed to heavenly certainties, and 'enters within the veil,' but even when occupied about earthly things.
Spenser twice paints for us the figure of Hope, one has always something of dread in her blue eyes, the other, and the other only, leans on the anchor, and 'maketh not ashamed'; and her name is 'Hope in the Lord.
The prisoner solitary among self-seeking men. With wonderful self-surrender the Apostle thinks of his lack of like-minded companions as being a reason for depriving himself of the only like-minded one who was left with him. He felt that Timothy's sympathetic soul would truly care for the Philippians' condition, and would minister to it lovingly. He could rely that Timothy would have no selfish by-ends to serve, but would seek the things of Jesus Christ.
We know too little of the circumstances of Paul's imprisonment to know how he came to be thus lonely. In the other Epistles of the Captivity we have mention of a considerable group of friends, many of whom would certainly have been included in a list of the 'like-minded. What had become of them all we do not know. They were evidently away on Christian service, somewhere or other, or some of them perhaps had not yet arrived.
At all events for some reason Paul was for the time left alone but for Timothy. Not that there were no Christian men in Rome, but of those who could have been sent on such an errand there were none in whom love to Christ and care for His cause and flock were strong enough to mark them as fit for it.
So then we have to take account of Paul's loneliness in addition to his other sorrows, and we may well mark how calmly and uncomplainingly he bears it. We are perpetually hearing complaints of isolation and the difficulty of finding sympathy, or 'people who understand me. And many of these complaining spirits might take a lesson from the lonely Apostle. There never was a man, except Paul's Master and ours, who cared more for human sympathy, had his own heart fuller of it, and received less of it from others than Paul.
But he had discovered what it would be blessedness for us all to lay to heart, that a man who has Christ for his companion can do without others, and that a heart in which there whispers, 'Lo, I am with you always,' can never be utterly solitary. Think of the list of individuals in the New Testament who were impacted by the apostle Paul. Did this take place in a formal classroom for Titus, Onesimus, Luke, and Silas?
Rather, their foundational training in the Scriptures was given context and application as the apostolic ministry team went from city to city. Who is the 21st century Paul you are pursuing? Observation tells us that mentoring is not best accomplished through a formal program.
Be a Barnabas; Pursue a Paul; Train a Timothy
Mentoring takes place best as the one desiring formational input pursues. Mentoring takes place as we watch, listen, serve, follow, learn, read, glean, emulate. Each minister needs to pursue someone who excels in some area of life or ministry.
Thanks to 21st-century technology and travel, the whole world is open to us through print media—classic and current—tapes, interactive CDs, the Internet, conferences, and networking. This allows any minister, wherever he or she may be serving, to connect with any Christian leader anywhere.
So, pursue a Paul. Key in on someone you respect. Prayerfully ask the Lord to lead you to the influencers who can have formational impact on your life. Pursuing a Paul is not an activity solely for the younger minister. All can benefit from being a lifelong learner. Perhaps the attrition rate of ministers can be normalized. Train A Timothy A third key ministry-development relationship we observe in the New Testament is embodied in training. When, as a minister, you find a willing, motivated follower, take time and expend energy, and invest in training.
Answer these questions to help you evaluate your suitability: Are you a person of patience? Do you take the long-range view? What is your area of competence? In what skills are you qualified, and what is your specific area of expertise?
How strong are your interpersonal skills? Are your relationships generally healthy?
Are you capable of sticking with people over time while they develop? Are you willing to take risks? Are you willing to accept responsibility to help someone else grow?
Is your character worth emulating? Would God approve of someone adopting your behaviors, attitudes, values, language, and mannerisms? Are you willing to make time for someone else? Is there any sin or unhealthy situation that you have not addressed that could possibly damage your relationship with another person?
Are you fundamentally committed to honoring Him in every area? Training is a cyclical activity involving instruction, implementation, observation, and evaluation.
Paul and Timothy
Training gives further opportunity for implementation and observation with evaluative feedback, followed by further instruction as necessary with the cycle continuing. Intentional training is needed in the ranks of our ministers today. Skills need to be learned and competencies need to be refined. Many young Timothys desperately need increased effectiveness. They need to be well-trained.
Enrichment Journal - Enriching and Equipping Spirit-filled Ministers
While the primary result may be that the young minister is trained and more effective, several things happen as a by-product of this activity. Benefit also comes to the one doing the training. Furthermore, joy wells up in the heart of the one investing the training energy whenever those influenced become effective in the work of God. Well-trained ministers have a better potential for longevity in ministry just as well-trained marathon runners have a better chance at finishing the race.
In addition, the process and discipline of training another can have a positive effect on the trainer through reinforcement of truth.
It brings accountability and adds a joy factor to the ministry. Conclusion If every minister would seek to be a Barnabas, pursue a Paul, and train a Timothy, many ministers on the sidelines or in the grandstands could be active in ministry assignments. In pursuit of much needed mentoring, ministers, as lifelong learners, could be better prepared for the long haul. When younger ministers are mentored, they will be more effective in the work of the ministry.