2 Timothy 1: 1-4
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;
4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;
I love the way Paul opened his letters both to the churches and to individuals. He was always so gracious and used words of blessing and words to help people remember who he was. This is a characteristic we should all use if we are inclined to write letters by hand (or type them out on a computer). In this world of email, Facebook, Twitter and the rest, letters are a rarity anymore. I know when I receive one it is indeed a blessing.
First, he says he is an apostle by the will of God. Do you view your life and calling that way – that it is only by the will of God that you are engaged in a particular ministry? That it is not because of your talents, or knowledge, or wisdom or any other characteristic you might have. It is by God’s will alone that you are doing this work – buy His good pleasure. He has given us life through His Son Jesus Christ and we should make the most out of our lives. The way we do that is by enveloping ourselves in the will of God and following the course Her has laid out for us. Anything else will cause us to run into resistance in life and we will not have the blessing of God we could have if we did follow His course.
Timothy is Paul’s son in the faith. Paul looked at him as his own son, and I imagine Timothy looked at Paul as an earthly father. There is no mention of Timothy’s father in scripture, just his mother and grandmother. Paul probably served as a father figure for him and brought him up in the faith the way a good father would. He was a mentor, as we would call Him today. One of the gr3eatest honors we can have is to be a mentor for someone else. Not only does this grow their devotion and faith in God, but it will build ours as well. We grow as we take part in their life, showing them the correct way to discipleship. Paul said “Follow me as I follow Christ.”. (1 Corinthians 11:1) What would someone else’s life be like if they carried out this word toward you? Would they grow in their relationship to God, or would they have trouble keeping the faith? We need to examine ourselves.
At the same time, we all need to have someone who is mentoring us, feeding truth into our lives and challenging us to grow in our relationship to God. Personally, I have several. My Pastor is a wonderful mentor. He is kind a compassionate and teaches me what grace and mercy are all about. We regularly talk about various subjects and how they relate to the human condition. He has been such a blessing to us. I can honestly say that most of the pastors I have had through the years were mentors for me. I am one who submits to that authority and helps wherever needed. In turn, I learn a lot from each one. We should give them that place in our lives. God has appointed and anointed them to be in a [position of authority over us. Honoring them by being a mentee is a good thing!
Paul then wished grace, mercy and peace to Timothy in his typical greeting fashion. I would love to get into the habit of starting out emails and correspondence with that statement. Imagine a world where each of us wished grace, mercy and peace on one another. There are few attributes of God that are more powerful than these three things. Some of the others we could use are love, joy and hope. Love might be taken the wrong way and joy might come at a tough time in a person’s life. Hope is a by product of our faith. But grace, mercy and peace can come into our lives at any time and are always working on our behalf. I think that’s why Paul chooses these three things to use in his greetings. I desperately need each one of them every day.
Then Paul says something that really interested me. He said with a clear conscience he could say he prayed for Timothy night and day. I have a confession to make. Sometimes I tell people I am praying for them when I haven’t been really diligent in doing that. A passing thought is usually what I am referencing, not a heartfelt prayer. I am often disappointed with my prayer life. I don’t spend the time I want to in prayer, and when I do spend that time I get too easily distracted. I even wrote a book on prayer and have trouble following the insights God gave me to write the book.
But Paul could say with a clear conscience that he was praying night and day. That means it was the absolute truth to me. He had no reservation about saying it. His conscience would not bother him for saying it. It was something he truly did do. I have no doubt that his prayers were heartfelt and meaningful; not just thrown together at the last minute like a chore he had to do. We should all approach prayer that way. Our prayer lives should be a constant state of mind. Paul write more than once about being in a constant state of prayer (Phil 4:6, 1 Thess 5:17).
In a way, I follow these two verses. I think following these verses is to be ready to pray at any given moment. God will bring things into our spirit that need prayer and we should be ready to pray for that situation when we hear His voice, Whether in our prayer language or our everyday language, we should take time out of whatever we are doing to talk to God and interceded for those in our lies who need prayer. At this I do well. How about you?
Lastly, Paul shares his overwhelming desire to see Timothy. I do not have a lot of knowledge of church history, but I don’t believe Paul ever got to see Timothy again after sending this letter. Paul wrote it from a Roman prison and I doubt Timothy ever made a trip to Rome to see Paul. So, Paul’s hope was never fulfilled and he probably knew that when he wrote this. Why even say such a thing then? So that Timothy would know of Paul’s affection for him, that’s why. We should never shy away from telling people of our affection for them. We never know when it is the last time we will communicate with them. Make sure you tell your loved ones just how much you care today!