saintly service

Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him.”

Acts 16:1-3

Oh, Timothy: eternal ideal of the Christian youth. Is there a young believer on Earth who has never shared in Paul’s admonition to you to “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers”? History reports that Timothy made a good job of it. From his first mention in the Book of Acts he is “well-reported of.” The Catholic Church venerates him as saint and martyr; church history calls him “the bishop of Ephesus”; the Greek Orthodox recognize him as an apostle.

Timothy’s adventure began when Paul all but shanghaied him on his second missionary journey. But what did this shining example of discipleship actually do with his life?

He may have preached. We don’t have a single recorded sermon to prove it.

Perhaps he founded churches. Again, we have no record of it.

Two pieces of Scripture bear his name, but Paul wrote them–not Timothy.

My favourite memoir of Timothy’s life is found in Acts 19:22:

“So Paul sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season.”

Did you catch that? Timothy was “one of those”–he doesn’t even get a special, separate mention–“that ministered unto Paul.”

The glory of it.

Don’t be fooled by the word “ministered.” Modern English usage has spoiled it. “Minister” is not something you do from a pulpit. “Minister” is service. It’s lugging Paul’s bags around. It’s making sure he gets his porridge in the morning. It’s holding up a candle so Paul can get his letters written. It’s trotting around the Roman Empire at the heels of an apostle, always in his shadow, just serving. Timothy did this for years.

Bishop of Ephesus, Orthodox apostle–here Timothy is something simpler and sweeter. Did I say he walked in Paul’s shadow? No…the truth is he walked in Christ’s pure light. Jesus Himself said, “He that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.”

If you desire to serve God, you who are young and searching for meaning, I encourage you to find a servant of God to serve. Receive a prophet; give a cup of cold water to a weary disciple. Hold up the candle. Cook the porridge. Love someone.

Paul’s words are a beautiful benediction on the life of this young man who served him so faithfully for so many years.

“To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve… that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy.”

II Timothy 1:2-4

Even so may you and I, as a community of servants, fill one another with joy.







One response to “saintly service”

  1. Ted Gossard Avatar
    Ted Gossard

    Rachel, Good thoughts in helping us see just how Timothy grew in the Lord.

    I am challenged by what we read in Philippians concerning Timothy:

    19But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state.

    20For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.

    21For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.

    22But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.

    23Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post, and I do enjoy the beautiful prose (I guess you would say) of the KJV.

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