The young pastor Timothy to whom the apostle Paul wrote a long letter (the book of Timothy) appears to have been possibly a mere teenager at the time of Paul’s writing. Timothy had been appointed to lead the Ephesian church but he didn’t have much experience. At that time, the group of believers in Ephesus were one of the largest.
There were lots of potential problems in Timothy’s appointment. Great value was placed on age in ancient Middle Eastern times. Timothy was leading a church where probably most of the members were older than he was! By the sounds of Paul’s letter, it also appears that Timothy was a bit shy self-conscious. Definitely not a type A person!
If you know anything about churches, you know where there are people there are always problems. This is especially true of new Christians who have some much to learn about the ways of God. Anytime you try to bring order into disorder, there will be pushback. Timothy had great challenges! Yet at the same time, the grace of God was working in the church and the supernatural move of the Holy Spirit was present. God was really doing something in Ephesus.
The big picture was this: GREAT POTENTIAL, PROBLEMS, AND A YOUNG MAN WITH LITTLE EXPERIENCE IN CHARGE.
That may be why Paul wrote Timothy not just one letter, but two! No other person in Scripture received two of Paul’s magnificent, highly treasured letters.
It sounds like Timothy was having a hard time. “I remember your tears,” Paul said. Yes, tears! It prompted Paul to say, “I pray for you night and day.” These don’t sound like tears of joy. Paul also reminded Timothy of the faithfulness of his mother and grandmother, and that his godly heritage has put faith in him as well.
“Timothy my dear son…I understand what you are going through. I know it’s not easy. I know you have a challenge before you but I remind you to stir up the gift of God that was given to you when we laid hands on you. Fan that gift into a flame! Keep on stirring up your gift! You will succeed if you use the gifts of God that are in you.”
You may not be young like Timothy, but when you lose hope, faith, and courage, remember that you have come this far because of the gift of God at work in your life. It’s not because you are such an exceptional leader. It’s because of the gift of God. Your ministry continues because of the gift of God.
When I’m feeling low, and I do at times, I know I need to exercise my gift more. The grace of God strengthens our gifts. As we function in faith, God’s grace gives us what it takes to get over the top.
You are making a difference. God doesn’t need our abilities, although He can use them. Remember that His gift enhances who we are, empowers who we are and actually is the reason we bear fruit in the kingdom.
Use your gift, encourage yourself in your gift, and do so as an act of discipline. The gift operates through the power of the Holy Spirit.
When you struggle, don’t let the temptation to quit overcome you. Everyone, even me, has been tempted to quit. Do not give in to this pressure! When you’ve been unsuccessful or when your efforts seem futile, or when there is push back against you, KEEP GOING.
There will always be some pushback when you do kingdom work. It will come from the devil himself or through people used unknowingly by the devil. It will come from traditionalists who don’t like change. It will come from misunderstandings. Wherever and whenever it happens, don’t quit.
You are making a difference. Pause, reflect, and remind yourself of what God has done and is doing. Keep looking for Him to show up. He will!