To Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Timothy 1:2
This is thought provoking. Paul is writing a letter to Timothy and he calls Timothy his son in the faith. Timothy had a father. We know because he is mentioned previously in the book of Acts. However, Paul was Timothy’s spiritual father in that he mentored and train him up in the things of faith. Timothy traveled with Paul on many of his missionary trips and then became the pastor/bishop of the church in Ephesus.
So, what is a spiritual father or mother? It is someone who walks with you in life and coaches/trains you in the things of the Spirit/God. In the case of Paul and Timothy, Paul mentored Timothy until he was spiritually mature enough to take on a ministry of his own. In a sense, Paul was duplicating himself in Timothy to reach the next generation. To continue the work of the ministry after Paul was gone.
It is really the way the gospel has continued to grow and pass down through the ages, through training and teaching the up-and-coming leaders of the day. In our day we have schools that train people for ministry, but that can only go so far. Until you walk things out, there is training that cannot be taught in a classroom. You may be thinking: “yes, but that was the apostle Paul, I’m not qualified to teach anyone? The fact is every believer can bring others along with them. It can be as simple as inviting a neighbor to church or a small group. It can be something like praying with others or simply offering an encouraging word. What ever opportunity God puts in front of you, you always have something to offer.
Today I want to encourage you to look for someone you can walk along with in life to help them spiritually. Invite someone to church or offer that encouraging word. Even if it is not accepted the first time, a seed was planted, and you can try again when the next opportunity comes. We won’t live here forever, let’s make sure we all do our part to ensure the next generation carries on the good news.
Today’s scripture reading: 1 Timothy 1:1-7