You Need a Timothy!

Legend-of-Zelda-Wallpaper-the-legend-of-zelda-5433362-1600-1200Acts 16:1-5

This may be news to you:  Jordan Verner of Ontario, Canada, recently beat the video game The Legend of Zelda.  “Okay.  so what?” you might respond, “He’s not unique.  Lots of people have beaten that game.”  Well, Jordan Verner is blind!  He went on the internet to enlist the help of other gamers to help him.  Four rose up to meet the challenge. It took them two years but they played The Legend of Zelda and recorded every jump, roll, and sound.  Jordan then took this information and entered it into his computer which would then read them aloud as he played. And he was then able to finally beat The Legend of Zelda without ever laying eyes on the screen.

It seems to me that there are a lot of young men and women out there that could use the benefit of someone in life that knows all the jumps, rolls and sounds to look out for.  I believe that there is indeed a Timothy for every Paul in this world.  But often young people are left to figure out life blindly.

Paul had his literal Timothy and poured his life into the young man.

1He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. 2The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

What do we know about Timothy?  He’s green.  He has baggage.  But he’s teachable.  Paul’s willingness to take this young man under his wing would lead him to write two of the books of the New Testament to teach and encourage him.

How close was Paul to Timothy?  Paul writes to the Philippians that Timothy had proved himself, and in the first of two letters written by Paul to Timothy in the NT, Paul calls his protégé:  “My true son in the faith.”  That’s close.  How close are you to someone that needs your guidance and support?

In previous posts I’ve mentioned that we all need mentors like Barnabus, and friends like Silas, but let me now stress that we also need a Timothy! – young men or women that we are mentoring and working to build into their lives.

You might protest: “I’m no Paul!  What do I have that I can share with another?  I need to get my own stuff together before I begin mentoring.”

Not only is it true that you are selling yourself short… and you may also be hampering your own spiritual growth.

In a recent Leadership Journal interview with David Platt (right), he was asked:  “Some leaders feel like they’ve been

Pastor of the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL

Pastor of the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL

called by God, yet there are some days when they feel like imposters.  They don’t feel holy enough, faithful enough, gracious enough, strong enough, competent enough.  They feel obligated to talk further than they’ve walked.  Do you ever identify with that?”

He responded:  “Definitely.  With any kind of spiritual leadership, whether it’s pastoring a church or discipling one person, you get to the point where you see  something you need to call people to do.  Then you realize you’re not doing that, certainly not to the degree you’d like to see others do it. … Someone might say, “I’m not disciplined enough in prayer to teach someone else how to pray.”  Well, start teaching them anyway and it’s actually going to cause you to be more disciplined in prayer. … God’s got this thing rigged.  He’s designed disciple-making not just for other’s santification, but for our own sanctification, too.  … I tell my folks here that until we pour into others’ lives we’re going to hit a ceiling in our own life spiritually.  As long as it’s just about us, then our sanctification will not happen as effectively as it would if we are working to lead others to faith in Christ.” (Leadership Journal, Winter 2013, p. 27.)

Taken any jumps, rolls, twists and turns of that spiritual journey of yours?  Then there are those behind you that need your eyes.  Would you kindly step up to the challenge?

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Whatever Happened to…?

church directory22 Timothy 4:11

VH1 used to host a show devoted to today’s question:  Whatever happened to… Christopher Cross or M.C. Hammer… etc. ?  Several magazines I’ve seen recently have asked:  “Whatever happened to the cast of [insert television show of yesteryear]?  We seem fascinated to solve these mysteries.  Here is one you can research on your own today.  Pull out a church directory that is over 2 or 3 years old.  Look at the names and faces.  Who is missing from the sanctuary these days?  Did you know they were gone?  Ever wonder what happened to them anyway?

Chances are they didn’t run into a Barnabas.  He was the Apostle to the lost cause.  He once stuck his neck out for a man name Saul who was facing a Christian community scared witless over his recent “conversion.”  Everyone stayed clear of him… that is except for Barnabas.  Fast forward a few years and you have this “son of encouragement” standing with a man named Mark.  Mark had deserted Paul and Barnabas the first go around, but now wants to get back in the game.  Paul (formerly Saul) says:  “No dice!”  But Barnabas is willing to stick his neck for yet another “lost cause.”  He takes his cousin Mark and they sail to Cyprus.

We need men and women like Barnabas in the church today.  People that aren’t so quick to update the directory.  They are aware that there is a story behind every photo… and some of those men and women are redeemable.

Barnabas’ faith was later vindicated by Paul himself.  2 Timothy 4:11 reads:  “Only Luke is with me.  Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.   … When you come… bring my scrolls, especially the parchments.”  What do you get when you put Luke (author of the Gospel Luke and the Book of Acts. a master historian), the scrolls and parchments of Paul, Paul himself and Mark together in the same room?  You get the second book of the New Testament.  The one that bears the name of a one time  “quitter.”  God love Barnabas for not giving up on this kid!

Harold Myra and Marshall Shelley shared this story about a “Barnabas” type named Ruth Graham:  “Disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker testifies of her kindness.  Despite the fact that Bakker’s public scandal, which involved sex, hush money, and defrauded investors in a real estate scheme, had brought suspicion and scorn on all evangelists, both Grahams maintained a friendship with Bakker throughtout his imprisonment and afterward.

Moreover  “the first Sunday out,” Bakker said, “Ruth Graham called the halfway house I was living in at the Salvation Army and asked permission for me to go to the Montreat Presbyterian Church with her that Sunday morning.  When I got there, the pastor welcomed me and sat me with the Graham family.  There were two whole rows of them—I think every Graham aunt and uncle and cousin was there.  The organ began playing and the place was full, except for a seat next to me.  Then the doors opened and in walked Ruth Graham.  She walked down that aisle and sat next to inmate 07407-059.  I had only been out of prison forty-eight hours, but she told the world that morning that Jim Bakker was her friend.  -Harold Myra and Marshall Shelley  (The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham, p. 323.)

Who is that person you see missing from the pews?  Could they be the next Mark?  Don’t be too quick to quit on a “quitter.”  He or she might just surprise you just how far they can go with a little encouragement from you.