We have often referred to 2 Timothy 2:2 and importance of having faithful men who will take the truth of Scripture and pass it on to other “faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
There is another reason why faithful Timothys are so important. After Paul had found Timothy at Lystra (Acts 16:1-3) and took him along with Paul and Silas, Paul was called to Macedonia. Timothy must have gone with Paul and Silas and watched these two men preach the gospel and plant churches in Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea. He perhaps saw the pain in Paul’s heart as ‘his spirit was provoked within him as he saw” Athens given up to idolatry (Acts 17:16).
Somewhere in this time frame, Paul “could bear it no longer…willing to be left behind at Athens,” as he sent Timothy (“God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ”) back to Thessalonica “to establish and exhort [them] in [their] faith, that no one be moved by these afflictions” (1 Thessalonians 3:1-2). As the following verse shows, Paul warned them that suffering was coming and his concern for their stability in the faith compelled Paul to send Timothy to find out how they were doing. His visit was more than writing a report card. Timothy learned from Paul the value of encouraging, establishing, and strengthening new believers in the faith. After Timothy’s visit, Paul received a report that comforted him, knowing that they were “standing fast in the Lord” (3:8).
This same need is with us today. There is no one who can be everywhere, meeting the needs of encouraging, establishing, and strengthening new believers in the faith in every place. We must train faithful indigenous Timothys who are both learning in the ministry with their “Paul” and also being sent out for this purpose. As Paul was intentional in developing Timothy, so must we be intentional in training the next generation of leaders. The challenge we have is finding those with characteristics of faithfulness and integrity.
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