Roughly a dozen years had passed since the apostle Paul first saw a man named Timothy in Lystra and decided to take him along. At that point he was a young man with a good reputation. Still he’d had much to learn. In the course of those years, Timothy had watched and listened. He had been a messenger and a conduit of compassion.
But things were different now. Paul was aging and in and out of prison. Timothy was even more mature and trustworthy. As a result, Paul entrusted more and more responsibility to his spiritual son. The role Timothy now played was of utmost importance. He was a representative of Paul and, more importantly, of God to the church and the city of Ephesus. Even though Paul longed to come and do this himself, he had commissioned Timothy with important responsibilities.
Before we look at Tim’s assignment, let’s remind ourselves of the value that Christ has placed on the Church. Remember, Jesus said that He would build it and that the gates of Hell could not destroy it (Matt. 16:18). But, while Christ builds the Church, He invites human laborers to be part of that process. It is, at the same time, indestructible, fragile and purposeful. The Church is the precious bride of Christ (Eph. 5). It is “the household of God” and the very “pillar and buttress of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). Those who are part of her and work within her have inherited a weighty responsibility of stewardship.
So, what exactly was Paul asking of Timothy? Two things really:
- He asked Timothy to ensure that proper doctrine be taught. Even the first-century world was filled with cheap substitutes. If the wrong people said the wrong things at the right time, the church would head down a path that was contrary to the ways of Christ. Timothy was to police that.
- He also asked Timothy that the church conduct itself in a manner worthy of Christ. As we will see in this letter, God is specific in such things as the importance of prayer, gender roles, leadership selection, response to widows, and financial stewardship.
Timothy was God’s respresentative in further building His church in Ephesus. Don’t forget . . . you play a critical role in the life of your church!