Every Timothy Needs a Paul

And every Paul needs a Timothy. There is so much to be gleaned from the relationship between these two men. From it, we learn the Biblical principle of one on one, life on life discipleship. We need more of this in 2018.

The duo first met when Paul came to Timothy’s hometown of Lystra on his second missionary journey. Paul was a Hebrew of Hebrews. Timothy was the teenage son of a believing Jewish mother and a Greek father. The two were as opposite as could be, but Paul was immediately taken to Timothy and requested that he come alongside him on the rest of his journey. 

Timothy accompanied Paul on the journey through Asia. Then they set sail across the Aegean Sea for Macedonia. They traveled from Philippi all the way down to Thessalonica then crossed over into Achaia. They journeyed as far south as Corinth before crossing the Aegean Sea once again back into South Asia to the city of Ephesus. 

All along the journey, they established and strengthened churches. They suffered hardships together, and they rejoiced in triumph together. The cross of Christ and their common desire to see people come to know Jesus was the thread that knit their souls together as one.  Their affection for one another cannot be overstated as they came to be like father and son. 

Paul personally and intentionally invested in Timothy, whom he very much intended to be his successor. Timothy had heard every sermon. He had witnessed every beating. He had seen thousands of people saved. Many useful memories were established that would later sustain Timothy during a very difficult stint as pastor of the church in Ephesus. 

In Paul’s last letter of encouragement to Timothy, he instructed him: “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” This is what is beautiful to me… Paul was looking to the future. He saw the necessity of his successor having a successor as well. His desire was to see the whole world saved and knew that it was bigger than him and bigger than Timothy. The mission required that Timothy become a Paul who would invest in other Timothies.

What we need to understand is that this is the way the church has grown for the last two thousand years. Starting with Jesus, faithful men and women personally invested in other faithful men and women who invested in others. Many converts were made through the public proclamation of the gospel, but those converts did not become true disciples until someone took them in and personally invested in them. This is what is missing today in the way that we do church.

Making converts is easy. Wherever the gospel is preached, men and women respond. It is the power of God unto salvation. Discipleship is much more difficult. It requires openness and humility. It demands love that is moved to action and prayer. It requires a willingness to take responsibility for another person’s soul.

I am so grateful that shortly after I was saved, a youth minister named Richard Harvey called me to his side. He taught me. He prayed for me. He challenged me. The greatest thing he did was care for me. He was by my side during the most difficult season of my life. His love for me is the thing I remember the most. He was my Paul.

If you are a believer and follower of Christ today, then you must have a Paul. You believe because someone cared for and invested in you. They taught you. They prayed for you. They took responsibility for you. 

If you have a Paul, then you are duty bound to also have a Timothy. What has been invested in you was not for your own sake but for the sake of the kingdom and glory of God. For our faith to continue into the next generation and for God to get all the glory that is due Him, you must give away what you have been given. I strongly encourage you to find a disciple to personally invest in. Invite someone into your life. Take responsibility for their growth in the grace of God. Teach them. Challenge them. Love them. Do it all for the glory of God.