At the beginning of this letter to Timothy we quickly realize that Paul is in prison yet again. However, this time, instead of being imprisoned in a ‘rented house’ (Acts 28:30) we find him in a cold cell, chained like a criminal. We also discover that Paul is lonely: Phygelus and Hermogenes have legged it, Titus, Crescens and Tychicus were away (4:10-12) only Luke was left with him (4:11).
Paul knew his work was coming to an end. Paul also knew that the persecution under Emperor Nero was mounting: the Gospel was under threat and churches were being attacked. He knew Timothy well (Rom 16:21) and urged him to hold onto his faith, to continue preaching the good news, even if it brought him his death.
‘You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus’ (2:1)
At the end of the day, our wisdom, habits, and power to endure what life throws at us comes down to our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Timothy was a courageous young man. He had heard Paul talk many times about Jesus and had encountered Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit for himself. Paul’s life was coming to an end and a new generation was needed to take on the baton, to continue proclaiming the good news, even when the darkness of persecution was foreboding. Timothy was that generation and so are we.
The brutal fact!
I’m twenty-seven and still feel incredible young to be leading a student church…to be honest I don’t know how or why I got to this place! However, I find myself in a position of leadership: teaching, mentoring young leaders to lead God’s people and to continue the work of the early church. But this position of leadership is nothing if my relationship with God is edgy, not right, and distant. If God is not at the top of my agenda, the first thing on my heart, mind or lips, then my position and responsibility is pointless.
Paul was speaking to Timothy’s heart and mind: was he ready, willing, able to endure the life that God was calling him to? Was he willing to face the brutal fact that Christ was calling him? Was he ready to step over the edge, dedicated to making disciples for the Father that loves His world, even when the world turns its back on Him?
How is your relationship with God today? Are you willing?