THIS WEEK’S FOCUSED SCRIPTURE
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I am grateful to God-whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did-when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. 6 For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; 7 for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. 8 Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join in with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, 12 and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted in him. 13 Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good treasure entrusted in you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us. 2 Timothy 1:1-14; 2 Timothy 2:1 (NRSV)
THOUGHTS FROM MARY LOU
This is Paul’s second letter to his young apostle. Timothy had become like a son to him. This was Paul’s 20th year in the ministry of Christ Jesus (47 AD – 67 AD). He calls Timothy his “beloved child.” Paul is a prisoner in Rome, communicating with friends and churches he had established through the years. Paul is writing Timothy to tell him how thankful he is for this young man, but also to encourage Timothy’s faith while he is out in the mission field. Paul tells Timothy he prays night and day for him and how he longs to see him. Paul knows the dangers that Timothy can encounter in the mission field. He reminds Timothy that he knows these struggles from the experiences that he himself encountered.
Paul remembers that Timothy’s sincere faith has been passed down to him through first his grandmother, then his mother. This example of Timothy’s upbringing in the faith is a testimony to all of us to never quit praying and standing for our children — blood or “by choice.” This is a strong example in today’s life. Never grow weary. God will honor our prayers and tears.
Paul urges Timothy to, “…rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands.” He urges Timothy to not be fearful saying, “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice (fear), but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline (self-control).” (2 Timothy 1:7) Often we must do the same thing. We must remember that we also have that same spirit in us that needs to be rekindled. Paul instructed Timothy about fear. In the Bible, it tells us 360 times to “fear not.” That’s once per day. God knew that we would experience the same fears in our lives.
Paul continues telling Timothy not to be ashamed of his testimony about the Lord or of Paul himself, a prisoner. To me, this little insight into Paul’s feelings expressed here is rather touching. Paul, the wonderful apostle of Christ, shows that perhaps he is somewhat embarrassed about his situation. After all, Paul is still human. Paul knew how to be abased and how to abound in any situation, even prison. In 2 Timothy 1:11, Paul says, “For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.” It is said Paul was of small stature, but he was mighty in his faith and endurance. I believe many of us resemble Peter more, but wish we were more like Paul, myself included.
Paul encourages Timothy to recall the lessons he has received; to “guard the good treasure that has been entrusted to him.” He also tells Timothy to do the same thing we must do today, which is to rely on the help of our wonderful Holy Spirit who lives in us. We must pass this legacy of “Living Faith” we received from our parents or mentors on to our children and loved ones.